As a commercial shark fisherman for four decades, I’ve often been entertained (as millions of others) by the annual episodes of The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. The reenactments of countless shark attacks as well as interviews of victims have emphasized the need of those who enter the world’s oceans to be vigilant. Anyone entering the wild elements becomes part of the food chain. Educational and informational, Shark Week has been beneficial, since many shark attack victims learned to defend themselves after viewing stories of survival offered by the popular TV series.
But over several years Shark Week has featured episodes of shark and human interaction that, although increase ratings, encourages behavior that inevitably will result in disastrous consequences. Shark Week has become a platform for a myriad of shark protectionists to promote their propaganda against the safety of humans while elevating sharks to a deity. I suspect this is a result of the many animal rights organizations which have claimed Shark Week presents predator sharks as vicious, blood-thirsty killers, (which, if you’ve ever fished for them, you would know this to be true.)
Peta, The Pew Foundation, Save our Oceans Foundation, The American Humane Society, the list goes on and on, are clearly, well-oiled fund raising operations with many donors. Check out any “save the shark’ website (there are hundreds) and you’ll find threats to boycott advertisers and anyone remotely connected with Shark Week. Maybe this is why after every episode the producers run the claim that “100 million sharks are killed by man each year with only a few human deaths. Sort of an appeasement to the Ecos while still racking in the profit! Sharks, after all, are the ultimate entertainment!
Today, shark protectionists featured on Shark Week lament that these elegant, majestic, wonderful, magnificent creatures are near extinction! But I’ve worked with, done business with or debated many of them and they are full of S%@#! I refer to these Eco Fruits and Nuts as prostitutes of REAL conservation. They downplay the danger of sharks while making tons of money through eco-dive tours to feed, photograph, or simply brainwash people into donating cash to their cause. Producers of shark week seem to be letting idiots run the show—they dive without protective cages and paddle on surfboards while great whites follow them, they film divers hand-feeding, tagging or simply touching dangerous
sharks seemingly to present sharks as misunderstood pussy cats.
Shark Week shows this odd circus of idiots promoting their perception of “majestic
creatures” while they feed sharks tons of tuna, chum (fish parts), fishsicles , (frozen bait), all dangerous acts which enable these predators to lose any natural fear of humans. And when the party’s over does anyone realize where these hand-fed killers swim? Most likely to an unsuspecting swimmer who has no food except himself.
Ask the skipper from South Australia if HE thinks great whites are “majestic” after he watched a pair of them rip apart and consume diver Peter Clarkson near (appropriately named) Coffin Bay. Or howabout asking the tourists how “beautiful” sharks are after witnessing an estimated 16 foot great white swallowing 37 year old Lloyd Skinner in three bites! One tour operator featured on Shark Week was responsible for the death of a diver killed by a tiger shark in the Bahamas and another profiteer nearly got a pair of divers
killed while photographing sharks off the California Coast.
Fact is, everybody will watch a train wreck or a plane crash on TV. Those fruits and nuts on Shark Week, well they’re entertainment too! But their reckless, actions are viewed by kids who get the notion, “Hey, sharks aren’t that bad!” Maybe they think it’s OK to pet a shark so . . . who will pay in the end? Perhaps this is why the producers of Shark Week run the disclaimer saying what you see should not be attempted without a professional supervisor. (What, one of the Eco’s?) Anyone with common sense should know not to hand feed a shark.
I wish Shark Week would return to their format when they first aired two decades ago. Shark attacks and the danger sharks pose is REAL. Today there’s no shortage of shark attacks. Maybe Shark Week should take a closer look at how many sharks are really swimming in the oceans. They’re not becoming extinct, it’s just the opposite. Ignore the threat of boycotts by eco-extremists and do some real investigation. The truth could me more entertaining than the fruits and nuts while saving some more lives!