Shark Week: Is It All About Sensationalism or Conservation?

Written by on August 1, 2013 in Editor's Choice, Other News, Sharks
Great white shark photographed by Jeff Kurr in New Zealand. Photo credit: Discovery Channel.

Great white shark photographed by Jeff Kurr in New Zealand. Photo credit: Discovery Channel.

Shark Week returns to Discovery this Sunday, August 4. Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re watching.

Before you let Shark Week scare you away from the beach, remember that there are more than 350 species of sharks and only a very small minority have been known to attack humans. In fact, most sharks are actually quite small — much smaller than most of the media leads us to believe. The smallest sharks (dwarf lantern and pygmy sharks) only grow up to six inches long!

Since it’s beginning in 1988, Shark Week has aired more than 150 shark programs. The 26th annual Shark Week will have the most hours of shark programming ever with 11 new premiers.

While many of Shark Week’s programs reel viewers in with terrifying, dramatic titles such as “Great White Serial Killer,” “Great White Gauntlet” and “Ocean of Fear,” keep in mind that Shark Week has become more and more conservation-based over the last three years. In 2010, Discovery Channel teamed up with non-profit ocean conservation group Oceana to ensure the accuracy of shark programming and to help raise awareness about the numerous threats sharks face today. Discovery also airs anti-finning Public Service Announcements during Shark Week.

This year, TOMS has joined the shark conservation effort with The Shark Shoe. Five dollars from every pair goes to Oceana!

If you can’t wait until Sunday, don’t worry. You can start your shark marathon early with this amazing list of must-see shark moves: The best of the worst shark flicks ever.

And of course, don’t forget SyFy’s Sharknado which didn’t do so well on its TV premiere, but took over the internet the very next day. In case you missed any of the internet craze, here are two wonderful summaries about this magical movie: Sharknado: the most terribly good movie of the summer from The Guardian & “Sharknado” May Take On Shark Week from BuzzFeed.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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