logo logo

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shark attack!

While I was looking for bona fide videos of shark attacks on Youtube I found this which is quite amusing! In fact most of the videos of "shark attacks" were backyard spoofs and other fictional films.

It is this "monster marketing" of irrational fear of sharks that creates an obstacle for the their conservation. This is a great letter from the International Shark Discussion Forum to Discovery Channel's about their marketing of Shark Week.

International Shark Discussion Forum Takes Stance Against Discovery's Shark Week 'Monster' Marketing
underwatertimes 19 Jul 07

It's no secret that people love monsters, blood, teeth and frights. On Shark Week, that seems to be what you are offering them, even though this subject matter fails to reflect current scientific understanding of these unusual and important fish.

For example, though there are about 500 known shark species, inhabiting a wide range of ecolological niches, your shows focus on the biggest top predators, especially the great white shark.

In recent years, conservation groups as well as individuals and scientists have become concerned to the point of alarm at the speed with which sharks have been depleted, mostly for the growing market for shark fin soup.

Casting sharks in a negative light leads to increased devastation of the species that you feature, even if that is not your intention.

Apart from the waste and brutality involved in shark finning, the threat of extinction is such an important part of the reality sharks face, that we ask why you have not used your power to publicize it. It is your responsibility as a credible media company to portray the perilous situation sharks face, thus bolstering consumer awareness and action.

On the contrary, we know from personal experience that you take the trouble to clip information about the finning crisis from your sequences about sharks, deliberately concealing the facts of this oceanic catastrophe from your viewers, who innocently believe that you are presenting them with science.

Your own words clearly express how you promote and prolong their "Mindless Man-eater" image, and contribute to an attitude that allows their mass slaughter with almost no public sympathy, nor protest: "Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever" "Deadly Stripes: Tiger Sharks" "Top 5 Eaten Alive" "Shark Feeding Frenzy"

In the 1970s, Peter Benchley's fictional best-seller, JAWS (which Steven Spielberg made into a blockbuster movie), dramatically increased our immemorial fear of sharks.

By the 1980s, that fear had largely given way to curiosity, resulting in an unprecedented amount research on them.

Thus, in the 1990s, as sharks became target species for Asian markets, scientific data were available to combat the new threat to sharks.

We are no longer in the 1970s, and the archaic perception of sharks you present belongs on the History Channel, not the Discovery Channel. Peter Benchley became a spokesman for sharks and an ardent shark conservationist. We suggest Discovery Channel follow his example and move Shark Week into the 21st Century.

No comments:

Post a Comment