What I Would Like To See During Shark Week

By August 4, 2011Ocean News

Enough with the Great White Shark bites and attacks on humans!!!

I know, and I know you know, that sharks do not attack humans as much as it is made out in Discovery’s Shark Week. Although Great Whites are fascinating animals the week is called shark week, not Great White week. There is so much more to sharks than Great Whites and how they bite.

Here is a list of what I would like to see during Shark Week

1) Shark Mating and Reproduction – Probably the most aggressive mating rituals of which we are aware. If you have seen the way male grey reef sharks “court” and female, you would want to charge them with assault and gang rape. Check out the video below. It would be very interesting to look at videos of various shark species doing the dirty!

2) Reef Shark Cleaning Station – I think this is one of the coolest behaviours in reef sharks and fish that I have seen. The Reef cleaning station demonstrates the gentleness of the sharks by allowing other fish and shrimp to go into their mouths and clean the parasites off their mouths. It’s amazing.

3) Largest Fish in the Sea (Whale and Baskin Sharks) – Many people are aware of Whale Sharks and Baskin Sharks and their size. However, they don’t really know about where they live and how far they travel, their reproduction, and how much they eat (or even what they eat). This episode could be divided into multiple episodes.

4) Small Sharks – We expect sharks to be large and mean. We expect them to eat people and other meat, but we don’t really know about the small colourful, cool looking sharks that have some great behaviours and characteristics. Small sharks do not get covered because they don’t cause blood baths and bite humans, but they can be really cool.

5) Shark Senses – This has to be the coolest feature of a shark and separates them from many other species. The Ampullae of Lorenzini are special sensing organs called electroreceptors. They help sharks sense electric fields in the water. These organs help sharks become great predators. Let’s look at why sharks are such successful predators instead of looking at them eating dead fish.

The more you know about sharks, the more likely we will want to conserve them.

That’s my 5 cents!

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Dear Andrew,
    I am so happy to read this. I agree totally. I finally had enough and wrote to the discovery channel last year (not easy to do via their website) and never received a reply. My problem is that once a month we go into the schools for a nature lesson and when the topic was sharks and you are trying to explain that they are really not that dangerous compared to other animals, the kids have a hard time believing you especially after shark week. Your ideas are fantastic, this year’s shark week is becoming a bit repetitive and includes rehashed stories from last year. They really could do with some new ideas.

  • Caz says:

    Good ideas, but go ahead and include something about sharkskin soup – or a shot of them being “harvested,” and some numbers of how many sharks are killed by humans vs how many humans are killed by sharks per year.

  • Meg Swecker says:

    Thank you for your 5 cents! I love that Shark Week has captured the attention of the world but hate that the focus is so often on shark attacks. Your suggested topics would help viewers better understand these beautiful creatures.

  • Sara says:

    Here is the link to discovery channels view comments. Sharks are too interesting and in too much trouble to not tell their whole story.

    Another great show idea would be to follow some of the many shark conservation groups stories and see what is being done to help these animals. A lot of knowledge and a little inspiration can go along way in the terms helping a species survive. Two conservation groups websites are linked below and are worth a look at to see all of their hard work.

    http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_detail.aspx?id=140
    http://www.sharktrust.org/

  • Tui Allen says:

    Cookie cutter sharks are another fantastic species. They are little sharks that take little bites out of big whales. To the whale it feels like an annoying insect bite might feel to us but the shark gets a huge sustaining high-protein meal, and does not kill its prey so the prey lives on to provide food another time. What a perfect lesson in sustainable predation. If only we humans could learn from this. Cookie-cutters have been known to bite humans and it is a little more serious for a human than for a whale but the bite is small enough that it is still easily survivable.

  • Tui Allen says:

    And what about the cleverness of the mako shark who disables his prey by biting its tail off so it cannot swim away and bleeds to death so there is no need to fight any further. In my dolphin story Ripple, the dolphins refer to makos as ‘tailbiters’ for this reason. The dolphins in the story respect the mako more than any other shark because of all sharks it is the most agile and dangerous to dolphins.

  • Discovery Channel has become and remains a disappointing channel for me. And their coverage in Shark Week was the main cause. I think they have lost focus where nature is concerned, that is why they can only deal with sensationalism. I assume it's a attempt to bring the "common Man" into nature appreciation. If that's the case they are doing nature more harm than good.
    They should change their name because for discoveries I know look to PBS.
    80% of their programming now have a tenuous if not non-existing link to Nature.

  • […] showing the same image of a shark leaping out of the water. Well, this past year Shark Week decided we’d seen enough crap and started showing actual scientifically-informed programs related to shark behavior, biology, and […]

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