Myth Blaster: Australian Great White Befriends Fisherman


Joan B., Illinois, sent some pictures with captions about a female White Shark that befriended Arnold Pointer, a professional fisherman from south Australia … a story that has been circulating in cyberspace:

The French Magazine “Le magazine des voyages de pêche” in its 56th edition, brought up an amazing news: An astonishing love story.
Arnold Pointer a professional fisherman from south of Australia set free from a certain death a big female White Shark that was caught in his fishing nets. Now the fisherman has a problem: He says: “It’s been 2 years and she doesn’t leave me alone. She follows me everywhere I go and her presence scares all the fishes. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
It is hard to get rid of an almost 17 feet long shark since the White Sharks are protected by the wildlife conservation, but a mutual affection established between Arnold and “Cindy”.
Arnold says: “Once I stop the boat she comes to me, she turns her back and let me pet her belly and neck, she grunts, turn her eyes, and move her fins up and down hitting the water happily …”

Myth Blaster Verdict: FALSE
Unhappily so, because the story would have been a great tale to tell. Some of the email passing around just show still shots (one image shown above), while some have the PowerPoint format presentation below: [or view Snopes page]

First, when I examined the photos, I wondered what a commercial fisherman was doing “fishing” in a Kayak. So I began to search cyberspace.
This amazing hoax was put together for an April Fools’ prank in 2006, according to Urban Legends, Snopes.com …

While the story is based on an article published in the French fishing magazine Le Magazine des Voyages de Pêche, that article was merely an April Fools’ prank item from 2006 which has since been translated into English and presented as a factual account …
The images used to illustrate the PowerPoint presentation originated with a pair of marine biologists who specialize in sharks, Michael Scholl and Thomas Peschak. The pictures were plucked from collections of photos taken in a variety of contexts (none of which has anything to do with a shark’s being freed from a fishing net by an Australian fisherman), and they do not all depict the same shark.
One of the images used several times in the presentation is a photograph of a shark trailing a kayaker that accompanied Scholl and Peschak’s “Shark Detectives”, article, published in the September 2005 issue of Africa Geographic magazine. Another image used in the slideshow appeared in the December 2005 “
Sharky Shores” article published in The Big Issue. Other shark photographs can [be] found in the photo gallery section of Michael Scholl’s White Shark Trust web site.

Manipulating photos is part of the hoax game, as can be seen in the Myth Blaster case of the breast larvae or in a more recent entry – helicopter attacked by shark. This one is my particular Myth Blaster classic favorite.
Of the three dangerous sharks to man, the Great White, Tiger, and Bull sharks; all are scary creatures, but also mysterious. Some facts about sharks has been found from long and arduous studies of it by marine biologists, as those mentioned above and covered by world-renowned magazines such as National Geographic.
I guess, in a way, I am disappointed that this turned out to be a hoax. Here is the hoax video:


Thanks Joan for passing this to me via email. 
You have questionable email? Chain email you know is bogus or misleading?
Pass it to me at KALehman49@aim.com
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