Sunday, June 8, 2008

Shark Conservation: Taking It to the Streets

As several of the most recent postings here indicate, there would seem to be a heightened degree of shark activity from the California/Mexico coast to Martha’s Vineyard. It has set the tongues wagging, trying to associate this statistical blip to global warming, changes in prey populations, or something – but as far as most scientists are concerned, the jury is still a long ways out until more definitive data can be collected. And in the end it might just be one of those unexplained anomalies. But will the media pick up on this and herald a new “Summer of Jaws”?

Will people’s fear and misunderstanding be reinforced by sensationalistic reporting?

Well, as lovers of all things shark, that’s where you come in. As I have held screening/lectures for Island of the Great White Shark at major aquariums across the country, I find myself typically “preaching to the choir” and so I often pose this question: “Most of you here have probably never had or ever will have shark fin soup. So you may not be part of the problem, but how do we make you part of the solution?” That gets people scratching their heads.

We must all become disciples to the cause. We need to enlighten those who are still in the dark regarding shark-human interaction and shark conservation. Do what you can and support those who are carrying the torch to areas beyond your reach. But it’s challenging. With Island of the Great White Shark, I hope for as many people as possible to see and hear a different image and different message regarding the public’s perceived “Darth Vader” of all sharks (a big “thanks for your support” goes to Shark

Whether it’s shark protection, marine conservation, or global warming, we need to make changes in our daily lives and we need to exercise our ability to influence others – our leaders, our nation, governments, and business – to move in the right direction. Act by example, vote by choice, influence by action.

Upcoming screenings/lectures of Island of the Great White Shark:

June 18 – National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD w/Richard Theiss

July 17 (tentative) – Harvard Museum of Natural History w/Dr. John Mandelman


Al McWhite said...

Fantastic post!!! I wonder if re-educating the public, starting with the public school system on important issues such as marine life conservation and it's impact on the human race as a whole. Building stewards for a better tomorrow!

Shark Diver said...


We could not have put that better!

Richard Theiss/RTSea said...

Thanks for your comments, Al.

This past Wednesday, I spent half a day talking about white sharks, shark protection, and marine conservation with high school kids in Orange County, CA. Their views and attitudes were an amazing microcosm and mirror image of the "adult" society - from true concern to total indifference.

But what we don't give them enough credit for is that they have an appreciation for many of these long-term issues we face - more so than many of the so-called leaders we put our trust in to deal with these challenges.

So, we can't give up. Enlighten the young and old, support the visionary leaders and thinkers, and press on.