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Does Shark Week Help or Hurt the Perception of Sharks
Greg - 8/06/2013 1:21 PM
Category: Videography
Replies: 17

I have watched a few shows during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel this year. Very few of the shows educate and promote conservation and shark awareness. Most seem designed to scare the hell out of someone.

Shark Week could also be a big reason why some people never learn to scuba dive. When talking about scuba diving, I’m often asked "Aren’t you afraid of sharks?" To which I reply "No, you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than attacked by a shark." It is my personal opinion that Shark Week is designed for ratings rather than ocean conservation or shark awareness.

What is your take on Shark Week? Do you think it helps or hurts the perception of sharks in people’s minds? Do you think it helps or hurts the scuba diving industry?
Greg - 8/06/2013 3:04 PM
From BlueGil: Maybe we should all just go diving instead!
I second that motion.
Mcsharley - 8/06/2013 8:57 PM
I would agree, I have always enjoyed watching shark week, but now that I am a scuba diver who has taken the time to research and become aware of the sport as well as ocean conservation, it’s disappointing to see that the show does not take the time to use it’s platform to educate the public on proper awareness as well as the fact that this amazing animal is more in danger than we are. Very disappointing and irresponsible.
Eric_R - 8/06/2013 9:14 PM
So much of that stuff was scripted, recreated and dramatized. What a way to ruin a great series. They just turned reality into rubbish.
Scuba-Smurf - 8/07/2013 3:36 AM
Unfortunately the media very often persuade and determine people’s beliefs and opinions as they always only give the perception that will get the most viewers/readers so no, generally I don’t believe they help people’s understanding of sharks and they probably do increase the fear factor!

There are few exceptions and I think any documentaries showing divers with sharks and understanding why sharks attack are much better!

Go Team Shark!
McNair - 8/07/2013 5:21 AM
I spent the whole morning here at work running through my diving photos from Australia showing everyone the sharks we encountered. Because of Shark Week people think I am a lunatic. Everyone has seen the Survival Stories of Jaws and those type shows. They need to focus on sharks in their own environment, underwater! The average veiwer would love to see beautiful dive sites sprinkled with shark. Everyone I have encountered asks about sharks and they are very excited to hear the stories even though they are not a "survival" story or a tale where I had to use my dive knife to battle the shark one on one.

After watching these survival stories and everyone coming out of the water with half a leg/arm and bone being left stripped of the meat I even cringe thinking "Hell I hope these images don’t cross my mind next time I get in the water." So imagine the effect these images have on non-divers or the less shark educated viewers. No good.

So yea lets all just go diving with BlueGill! :)
WarmWaterTurner - 8/07/2013 7:25 AM
To watch the series you would also come to the conclusion that there are only Whites, Bulls and Tigers in the oceans. I guess to spend any time covering a Nurse Shark would only put viewers to sleep. Point is there is so much more to sharks than when they are in feeding mode. I guess the old adage of "if it bleeds, then it leads" remains true.
Nitediver - 8/07/2013 7:30 AM
I watched it last night. Opening shot: is a seal bit in half. It’s designed to scare and get ratings. During the whole episode I watched it was about tagging a white shark and following it. and it was followed by an opening of someone that had been bitten. So I went to watch something else. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Sand tiger, bull, hammerhead, silk, reef and nurse. They are awesome animals. Never afraid of any of them a healthy respect for what they could do if provoked. Knowing that just watching is not provocation. Shark Week is a disservice to the shark and the diver. And because non-divers see it on T.V. and believe it must all be true and real, they are afraid and no amount of discussion will change their perception. So when I hear shark on the boat after a dive I am a little p.o.’d if I missed it and have lots to talk about if I didn’t miss it coming to say hello and check out the action.
RockRat2008 - 8/07/2013 8:34 AM
From Nitediver: So when I hear shark on the boat after a dive I am a little p.o.’d if I missed it and have lots to talk about if I didn’t miss it coming to say hello and check out the action.

Same here. We just got back from Panama City Beach and one of our dives one diver saw a 4’ bull and I was po’ed that I had missed it.

I agree with the general sentiment that Shark Week is a huge disservice to both sharks & SCUBA diving for the most part. I’ll generally watch bits and pieces just because I do like seeing the sharks, but will get annoyed and flip the channel before too long.
scubazigy - 8/07/2013 9:44 PM
I have seen very little that truly educates people on the necessity of sharks in the oceans Eco systems. But the media is a rating driven business and people want to see horror stories not reality. I personally have been in the water with blue sharks, seven gills and leopard sharks plus a few more I’m sure I didn’t even see. But I guess my stories wouldn’t make it on the discovery channel. I am completely fascinated with sharks and will continue to try to educate non divers on the sharks importance.
Scuba-Smurf - 8/08/2013 7:45 AM

A global question it seems!

Maybe the writer is a DB Member :)
Nitediver - 8/08/2013 12:05 PM
I don’t really have time to copy and paste it all so here is a link to something that just really torqued me. REALLY!? This isn’t funny or appropriate!
BigTex1836 - 8/09/2013 7:39 PM
I’ve seen a few of the shows on I always do, hoping to at least get a little something out of it. I think it’s pretty sad that during a week dedicated to these magnificent creatures the most educational show I’ve seen thus far has been Myth Busters. The only conservation messaging I hear is the 15 second or so blip on finning once in a while.

While geared and over-hyped around the scare factors, I think does not convey the right messages...but only the messages need to drive viewership. However, I do have to admit that I really liked some of the "now you see it, now you don’t" cinematography in the surface shots of Sharkpocalypse. Of course, I’ve been keeping the shows away from the kids since they would take the wrong messages away from any of the shows.

Another missed opportunity by the Discovery Channel in the chase for viewership figures.
John_giu - 8/13/2013 7:05 AM
I think it provide a GOOD dose of entertainment, excitement, education, and conservation information.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You get what you are looking for.

There is plenty of "don’t blame the shark".