(OCEAN CONSERVATION/SHARKS) Sunday, July 23 kicks off Discovery Channel’s most anticipated summer staple, Shark Week. Referred to as “the Super Bowl of the sea,” Shark Week is the longest-running cable TV programming event in history and a feeding frenzy in terms of ratings.
But while Shark Week is good for the Discovery Channel, many are asking: Is it good for sharks?
“For shark conservation to gain traction, we need a supportive public,” which may be harder to come by “if people are constantly being exposed to images that portray sharks as violent and dangerous,” according to Suzannah Evans, a doctoral student in science communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2014, three people were killed by sharks worldwide. However, as many as 273 million sharks are killed by humans each year from recreational fishing, habitat loss, pollution, bycatching, and perhaps most prominently, shark finning.
“Shark Week provides access to audiences who are interested in sharks, yet the image of sharks presented by the Discovery Channel emphasizes their potential violence over their declining numbers,” Evans and co-author Jessica Gall Myrick explain in “Do PSAs Take a Bite Out of Shark Week? The Effects of Juxtaposing Environmental Messages With Violent Images of Shark Attacks.”
There’s no denying that sharks are in dire need of protection as they’re populations continue to decline–placing them among the most threatened marine life on Earth, with some species even facing extinction.
It’s clear that humans are much more of a threat to sharks than they are to us. Scroll below to learn the brutal truth about shark attacks versus shark finning. — Global Animal