Rodney Fox

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Rodney Winston Fox is a South Australian film maker, conservationist, survivor of an attack by a great white shark and one of the world's foremost authorities on the great white shark.[1][2] Fox was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2007.[3]

Biography[edit]

Rodney Winston Fox was born in South Australia on 9 November 1940.

Shark attack[edit]

Rodney Fox was attacked by a great white shark while spearfishing and badly bitten around the chest and arm in December 1963. His story of the attack and escape has been published many times. He is regarded as a miracle survivor of one of the world's worst non-fatal shark attacks.[4]

In the attack Rodney's abdomen was fully exposed and all ribs broken on his left hand side. His diaphragm was punctured, lung ripped open, scapula pierced, spleen uncovered, artery exposed, and he was minutes away from his veins collapsing due to the loss of large amounts of blood. Tendons, fingers and thumb in his right hand were all cut and to this day he still has part of a great white tooth embedded in his wrist. His wounds required more than 450 stitches after the attack.

Rodney went on to design and build the first under water observation cage to dive with the great white shark, and for over 40 years has led major expeditions to film and study his attacker.[5] He arranged and hosted the very first white shark expedition to welcome sport divers, and has run hundreds of expeditions in the thirty years since.

Rodney is regarded as a world authority on the great white shark and has a great reputation as an expedition leader and producer of shark documentaries. He has been involved in some way with most great white shark films made in the 20th century. He has hosted expeditions for over 100 major feature and documentary films with film makers and shark researchers from 16 different countries. Disney, Universal, IMAX, Cousteau Society and National Geographic have enlisted his help and have filmed and studied the great whites from his cages.

Rodney's life since the attack has involved consulting and coordinating film crews and arranging and guiding ecotourism adventure trips and expeditions specializing in great white sharks and other marine creatures. He also travels the world giving talks to people about his experiences with sharks and the need for conservation efforts to continue.

Rodney's talks and films on the Great White Shark have educated swimmers and divers to the realistic potential of shark attack. He delivers a firm message that "sharks are not all that bad, we have very few confrontations with them and we should look after all our fishes especially the Great White". He positions the Great White as an important "keystone predator" directly controlling the diversity and abundance of other species in the great web of life.

Rodney has a large private collection of displays and items from 40 years film making on the ocean which are on tour around Australia and the world. The displays feature great white shark models, shark proof cages from the film Jaws, giant and ancient fossil shark teeth, plus photos and video highlights from many films that Rodney has been involved in.

Rodney, along with his son Andrew Fox, after more than 40 years, still continue to run Rodney Fox Great White Shark Expeditions, a shark cage diving operation to view great white sharks in the wild off Southern Australia. This operation also acts as a platform for much needed further research of great white sharks as well as encouraging quality natural history documentaries on the species.

Rodney and Andrew, along with shark researcher Dr. Rachel Robbins, founded the Fox Shark Research Foundation (FSRF) which is devoted to the study and conservation of the great white shark.

The great white shark is listed by the IUCN as a vulnerable species. The Fox Shark Research Foundation is endeavouring to expand our understanding of great white sharks, using the latest technologies and methods of research and working in collaboration with other scientific institutions.

Rodney currently strives to further raise public awareness of the plight of all shark species through his dive operation and research foundation, via publications, public speaking, and the films his operations facilitate.

In 2007 Henry Trenorden, one of Rodney's grandchildren, was featured on What A Life International and he mentioned his grandfather's job.

In 2009 Rodney was nominated for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize, the world's largest individual monetary award for animal species conservation.

Quotations[edit]

"Rodney Fox's attack is perhaps the best known of all shark attacks. Rodney Fox is a man whose life has been all but defined by the white pointer. The 1963 attack left him with a great fold in his left side where he was sewn together, but he nonetheless chose to devote much of his life to the pursuit (with camera and tourists) of Carcharodon. There has scarcely been an expedition, movie, book or scientific study of the great white shark in which Rodney was not involved."
From "Great White Shark" 1992, by Richard Ellis & John McCosker
"An Australian named Rodney Fox, probably has more experience with live White Sharks than anyone. For more than 20 years he has conducted regular sorties into their realm."
From the Cousteau Society's Calypso Log. August 1989
"Rodney Fox, an Australian man of the sea who had guided us to this spot, knew about white shark attacks and miraculous escapes at first hand. In 1963, while participating in a spear-fishing tournament off Aldinga Beach south of Adelaide, his home town, Rodney was nearly bitten in half by a great white. Held together by his wet suit, he was rushed to a hospital, where 462 stitches were required to sew him up. Rodney was back in the water less than three months afterward. Today he is regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on the behaviour of the great white shark."
From National Geographic Magazine article Australian Southern Seas.

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