I fell in love with sharks in a lagoon in Tahiti as I saw how different they are from the other wildlife I had known, and how intelligent. For many years I studied them through underwater observation.
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A film about The Shark Sessions...
While I was in Tahiti trying to get my sharks protected, the idea that I could put their story in a little movie and broadcast it far and wide across the world via the Internet, would have seemed like science fiction, yet ten years later, its not only possible, it doesn't even seem fantastic any more!
So here it is, my own movie about my beloved sharks, created with actual footage about them, who were being finned while I tried to protect them.
On Friday LiveScience.com published one of my articles, which describes how the fisheries industry has taken control, not only of the planet's wild fish, but of how they are considered by the public as well.
My article describes a political situation which is being reported on more and more on the Internet—too much power is in the hands of the corporations. In this case, it is the fishing industry and its interests that have managed to maintain such control.
Among others, I used the article by David Shiffman and Neil Hammerschlag, that appeared recently in “Fisheries” as an example. In an effort to give the ring of scientific authority to shark fishing, it recommends “fighting” sharks through catch and release fishing, as a good way for Florida to earn money. But both cock fighting and dog fighting are illegal in Florida, so how can a student scientist be promoting the “fighting” of sharks?
It has been shown by a variety of scientific researchers who are NOT involved with fisheri…
When I give talks about my
study of shark behaviour, the most common question I am asked is :
“But weren't you afraid of the
sharks?” Well of course, but to me,
those sharks were simply wild animals. I had often been fearful,
during my long history of observing wild animals, but never
had an animal threatened me. On the contrary, I learned
at an early age that it was the men in the forest, not bears, not
mountain lions, not snakes, who were really dangerous. When I was
growing up in North America, there was one serial killer after
another in the local news. Every couple of months, another girl or
young woman would be found, naked, bruised, and bloody after a
nightmare death, in some dark corner of the forest, to the shock of
her weeping family. Those were the monsters who
lay in wait along my pathways, as a young wildlife artist and
ethologist. The first time I had to run for my life, I was only four
years old. At twelve, I was grabbed by a strange man while walking
home through a l…
campaign to raise shark awareness began when the entire community of
hundreds of sharks that I was studying, as animals and individuals,
were finned for shark fin soup.
Sharks (and fish) had
turned out to be more interesting, more varied, and in many cases,
more beautiful, than the North American wildlife I had known. They
were just as intelligent, and far more responsive to me. They were
definitely more alert, and made decisions more quickly, than people.
Sharks were the first
wild animals I had met that came to me instead of fleeing, and though
I had fed the birds all my life, they never fluttered down around my
shoulders when I went outside, or alighted in my hands to be stroked.
But fish did.
So it is especially
sad to see how these remarkable submarine animals are considered and
treated in our society, as being low, cold and not even capable of
That is why I have
been on a personal campaign ever since to improve public awareness of
their true nature, and …