Commercial Fisher – Greg Finn

Greg Finn is a commercial fisher in NSW. He left his previous career to pursue commercial fishing full-time 8 years ago, and was fishing commercially part-time for 22 years before that. Greg chose fishing, and it has become a huge part of his identity. As a passionate fisher, he cares deeply about the management of fisheries resources: 

“I care a lot about the resource being managed sustainably and used responsibly. It’s really important to have good numbers that represents what’s going on, and not just fictitious ones…”

In his down-time, Greg likes to free-dive with his young son, catching lobsters and spearing fish.

Over the past 5-10 years, Greg has experienced an increasing number of shark interactions, particularly bull sharks, which he finds particularly aggressive and cunning: 

“You feel like you’re being hunted while you’re working”

For Greg, the sharks are not so much of an issue when he is drop-lining for deep-water demersal fish, but more of a problem inshore. Greg notes that depredation does not appear to be evenly spread across the board. However, he has been hearing more stories from fishers about fish being aggressively taken by sharks.

As a man who spends much of his life in and around the ocean, Greg has had his share of shark experiences. The following two interactions stood out for him:

“It was my 40th birthday in May… It was a beautiful, dead calm day, the kids were at school, and the wife at work. I don’t usually take a day off work, so I went abalone diving out of Port Stephens. I remember standing in my boat with my wetsuit on, and about to dive in when I observed a baby dolphin, really close to its parents, and close to the boat… then there was a huge commotion… and a shark fully breached and took the baby dolphin. I drove over, and there was no footprint, no indication of it ever happening. No one else saw it. Then as I looked around, a whole pod of dolphins were trying to climb the rocks out of fear…”

“About five years later, I was in the same area, I saw a pair of bull sharks in the area… suddenly, one arched its back, dropped its pectoral fins and launched at my face… I had my speargun and went to jab at it… it bit my speargun, and shook it… realised I wasn’t a dolphin, and left…”

Greg does not believe in needlessly killing sharks: 

“I have a healthy respect for sharks and realise they’re meant to be there, and have an important role. I wouldn’t kill anything unless it had some commercial value.” 

But he is definitely sympathetic of recreational fishers who experience shark-based depredation: 

“Commercial and recreational fishers are losing a lot of efficiency in QLD to shark depredation too. A lot of fish … would have been landed to be eaten if they weren’t eaten by sharks…”

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