The waters surrounding Perhentian Island, off the north-east coast of Malaya, abound in man-eating sharks.?
The waters surrounding Perhentian Island, off the north-east coast of Malaya, abound in man-eating sharks. Malay fishermen, who make their home on the island, earn their living by fishing for these killers when the season is "on".
With skills handed down from father to son, they take their small prahus into shark-fested waters, where a capsize cold mean sudden death, and battle with sharks ranging from only a few feet in length to almost as long as the prahus.
When shark is hooked, the battle is on. The shark feels the hook, it charges the prahu, but the fishermen are waiting with a rope trap and clubs.
First the head is caught in the trap, and then as the shark threshes about alongside the prahu another rope is slipped over the tail, then comes the risky job of hauling the shark aboard the prahu.
But the battle is still not over, for the sharks continue to fight even after they are dragged into the prahu.
When the fishing prahus return those who stayed behind, men, women, and children play their part.
First the fins, which are relished by the Chinese for soups, are cut off. Then the carcases are sliced into fillets for drying in the sun.
These sun-dried fillets will be the islanders main source of food during the monsoon which sweeps in over the islands this month, and for weeks on end keeps the fishing prahus shore-bound.