Recognition of skills and knowledge is something that artists worldwide seek, no matter what their field of expertise may be.
It is no different in the world of taxidermy and fish preparation where such artists are constantly trying to get their voices and talents recognised by some of the major institutes and researchers worldwide.
Shark preparations, be they jaws, skulls or skeletons, is an advanced form of taxidermy that is practised by few, due to its time consuming factors and a high rate of poorly prepared specimens.
I was lucky enough to be contacted a couple of weeks ago by Johan Gustafson, aka Dr. Hammerhead from the Griffith University in Southport, Queensland who asked about the preparation of a number of specimens, including the restoration of a beautiful white shark jaw, estimated at around 8-9ft in length.
These sharks were caught in the nets by Fishery, and then taken to the University for a number of analyses, including collection of DNA samples, and jaw and tooth measurements.
Once properly prepared, the specimens will allow researchers to both study and use the jaws as educational pieces, and allow both students and teachers to use real, properly prepared specimens for lectures.
The study of White shark jaws will allow researchers to learn more about these animals, which although they have been protected from bth commercial and recreation fishing since the late 1990’s, they still face huge challenges to their numbers from illegal poaching and incidental captures in both nets, and longlines.