guest post by tfui officer chelsea stein
Shark Week is the longest-running cable TV programming event in history, making its first splash in 1988. It’s an annual week-long TV event on Discovery Channel, broadcasting in over 70 countries, that originally focused on conservation efforts for sharks and clearing up the lurking misconceptions. The first person to host Shark Week was Peter Benchley, author of bestselling novel Jaws.
Fintastic fact: Benchley co-wrote the cult classic film after his novel was released and even made a cameo appearance as the reporter on the beach. The film had an unprecedented impact upon people, instilling an excessive fear of sharks. Benchley subsequently became an advocate for marine conservation as a result.
Over the years, Shark Week has had its’ ups and downs, flowing from a focus on conservation and fact-based programming to sensationalized, fictional programming. Oftentimes, Discovery features mockumentaries that portray sharks as mindless man-eaters. The species that you’ll see the most of during Shark Week is undeniably the great white. Considering there are over 500 shark species, we can all agree that Shark Week is lacking diversity. Here’s a cheeky post from Maria Pfleger, marine scientist at Oceana, about why great whites aren’t so ‘great.’
Speaking of scientists, there is a pretty impressive body of scientists active on social media that provide jawsome information, resources, and commentary on shark things year-round! Check out some of the twitter accounts of fin friends to follow right here.
So what are we hoping to see from Shark Week 2017? The Fins United Initiative (TFUI) founder Melissa Marquez provides a detailed explanation and I’ll echo her thoughts as well. Overall we’d like to see:
what do you hope that shark week does?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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