Monday, August 01, 2011


Look, as a SCUBA diver, I love Shark Week on the Discovery channel.
Not for the sharks, but to revisit destinations I've been to and to watch people SCUBA dive. Sort of preps me for the season, keeps me motivated, and reminds me of stuff that is really important, like the oceans, fish and the whole "circle-o-life" thing.
But Shark Week can be dangerous.
"Rogue Shark," "Killer Sharks," "Top Ten Shark Bites," Shark Kills Through History," are (or could be) shows that will air this week (OK, I'm making up the last two, but...)
Nowhere is there a discussion of what we do to sharks. The closest Discovery comes is a program called "Shark City," which purports to show the fun side of sharks. With "comedian" Andy Samberg.
Y'know, nowhere is a real in-depth discussion that we kill close to 100,000,000 sharks each year, that we've decimated entire species of shark and upset the entire fragile ecological balance of the entire ocean, the true breadbasket of the world. There are one millionth as many attackson humans...not kills, attacks...worldwide each year.
Do you know what happens when a shark gets finned? It gets caught by a fisherman. Still alive, barely, it's fins get sliced off: dorsal, tail, pectoral. The entire living animal is then tossed back into the ocean as bycatch.
Imagine you're out for a swim, just cruising along the water, and someone sticks a hook in you, drags you onto a boat, chops off your arms and legs, then tosses you back into the ocean?
That's what happens to a shark.
I've made about 250 dives in my diving career. I've seen sharks on six of them. Only once have I ever felt even close to threatened and that was because I didn't see the situation developing behind me (a camera had swum in underneath me to get a money shot) and the shark was coming to investigate. If I had known what was going on...well, the water would be a little less yellow right now.
Meanwhile, I've been hooked by fisherman a few dozen times, nearly knifed by another diver who was being careless, and bumped my head into any number of humans who decided they needed to be exactly where I was or was heading.
Trust me, I'd rather dive with a pack of hungry bull sharks than deal with a pack of humans any day.