We may be killing tens of millions of sharks every year so their fins can be tossed into a soup pot, but for all the humans who exploit sharks (and our fascination with them--I'm talking to you Discovery Channel!) it's nice to know that sharks have some passionate human advocates.
Here's one human who wants to learn and demystify, rather than kill and scarify:
And I also want to introduce you to a friend of mine, one of the most adventurous and compassionate
defendes of the oceans, and especially sharks. His name is Scott Cassell, and he is a former special forces operative who seems to spend as much time underwater as he does above it. And he is fearless.
Scott spent some time in the Bahamas this summer swimming with the sharks and filming them, and sent this fascinating trip report. Read it to see the very cool twist he brought to this expedition:
We just returned today from filming huge Tiger Sharks and Lemon Sharks in Bahamas with my friends, Luminox Watches and Blue Iguana Charters. Our mission was to gather footage of the gentle side of these beautiful sharks to counter the misinformation portrayal sharks as 'super predatory monsters that want to hurt humans' like SHARK WEEK sell-outs do. (Shameful!) We will be airing our YouTube series at the same time as SHARK WEEK is on to help tell the truth in counter the negative message that SHARK WEEK gives (ie... "if you were any closer you'd be bait").
I was successful in a placing several 3D GoPro cameras on the backs of both species and retrieving them giving us incredible images.
At one point a beautiful 12 foot Tiger shark decided to taste my 3D GoPro camera so I let her! I fended her huge mouth off me with one hand and placed my 3D GoPro into her mouth with the other (to ease the effort of her bite) and got great 'in-the-mouth' footage of a 1,100 lb Tiger Shark... In 3D! Then I quickly scratched her back to let her know she was good, that she didn't misbehave and all was well. So she happily stayed around us for a long time allowing me to place the camera on her dorsal fin and recover it some time later. It was amazing seeing this huge shark wearing my 3D camera knowing she was filming US!
Why did she act this way? Probably because the film crew right before us 'hand fed' several Tiger Sharks (unethically) in order to get thrill shots for their SHARK WEEK show.
No one should hand feed a major predator because then the animal learns to relate humans to food and accidents can happen. These film makers (in my opinion) are nearly as responsible for millions of shark deaths as the people that fish them... despite what they say about shark conservation. Words are cheap and ethics are priceless. Ultimately, the sharks pay the heavy price because no one protects cold blooded predators that hurt people.
Of course sharks are not this way at all unless stimulated to be this way. I have been diving with Whites, Tigers, Blues, Lemons and Makos for 30 years and they are actually often funny, gentle, majestic and even playful. But that does not sell shows for SHARK WEEK or their competitors... dangerous monsters do.
During one dive (just days ago) one 9 foot Lemon shark was exploring the chum bucket and got the strap around her nose so she swam away with the strap, the line and the chum bucket! At first I thought she was scared or hurt and then I watched her stop, re-bite the strap and continue on! It looked like she was playing a trick to get the food for herself! A moment later she stopped, backed up, spit out the strap and calmly swam in a circle to the chum bucket to investigate if anything changed (maybe hoping food fell out?) It was very cute and CAPT Rob and I were grinning to each other ear-to-ear holding back laughter as we grabbed the strap & chum bucket to return it to the stern of the boat.
I also placed 3D GoPros on the back of a 700 lb Lemon Shark 4 times and got some fun footage. It is very likely that my team and I are probably the first humans in history to be filmed BY Tiger Sharks and Lemon Sharks ... especially in 3D!
If Discovery Channel wants a dangerous animal to base an entire week about then they should choose hippos or even the trusted family dog. Both species kill MANY more humans each year than sharks yet 73 million of them are not killed each year just for a soup.
Thank you all for your love for sharks and continued support for UVP - Luminox projects... including this one... to counter the Medias misinformation about sharks being dangerous monsters.
Hope to see you soon! Take care.
CEO & Founder
Undersea Voyager Project