Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Richard Theiss - Talking Shark Policy With Politicians

Richard Theiss, filmmaker, producer, and blue blogger, has been a tireless champion for the global shark diving industry. Using his latest pro-shark, pro-industry film, Island of the Great White Shark as an educational tool Richards work continues to benefit the industry:


Sacramento, California, August 18, 2009 – California Assembly members Nathan Fletcher (R, 75th Assembly District) and Jared Huffman (D, 6th Assembly District) will be sponsoring a special screening/discussion of RTSea Productions’ Island of the Great White Shark for invited members of the State Assembly and Senate on Wednesday August 19, 2009 at the State Capitol.

The award-winning documentary film is a comprehensive look at the great white sharks of Isla Guadalupe, Baja, exploring the true nature of these critically important animals and the ongoing scientific research intended to secure their survival. Following the screening, RTSea filmmaker Richard Theiss, world-renown shark expert Dr. Peter Klimley from UC Davis, and eco-tourism operator Greg Grivetto from Horizon Charters, will discuss and field questions about the film, the important conservation and eco-tourism issues facing these ocean predators, and what the future of these animals means to California.

“These are absolutely magnificent creatures living on a razor’s edge of possible extinction. And there are some very dedicated people working tirelessly to prevent that. This is a story that needed to be told because their fate can have an impact on California, ranging from tourism and fishery economies to fragile marine ecosystems,” says Richard Theiss, RTSea Productions, executive producer and cinematographer.

Theiss has filmed the great white sharks that migrate in the fall to Isla Guadalupe for over five years. During that time, he not only completed the documentary, Island of the Great White Shark, but also became aware of the plight of these ocean predators and how their future is tied to environmental, conservation, and tourism issues between both California and Mexico. Relying on assistance from Dominique Cano-Stoco, Associate Director of Government Relations, UC San Diego, initial contact with several California legislators proved there was positive interest regarding the issues, which has led to Assemblymembers Fletcher and Huffman taking an active role in arranging this screening/discussion in addition to proposing other measures.

“Of all the animals in our planet, sharks are among the most recognizable, yet they remain remarkably misunderstood. Island of the Great White Sharks packages a message of science education and ocean conservation inside quality entertainment and cinematography. As an outdoorsman and as a surfer in particular, I appreciate that this film shows the truth—that sharks are critical players in maintaining balance in our marine ecosystems. The cause of conservation is important, and I am happy to use this event to encourage continued learning about these iconic creatures and smart steps to protect their place in our world,” said Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher.

"This film illustrates the importance of international cooperation in wildlife conservation, including the need for better understanding and appreciation of the vital role this unique species plays in the ocean ecosystem. Wildlife conservation and eco-tourism are also major contributors to California's economy, and for that and many other reasons deserve our support and encouragement, said Assemblymember Jared Huffman."

Following on the hype and hysteria of Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week television programming, this event plans to present the facts regarding a critically important and highly misunderstood shark. The film highlights the value of shark eco-tourism and the importance of conservation, while the discussion will bring out the need for cooperation between California and Mexico’s regulatory agencies involved with eco-tourism, research, wildlife conservation and protection of threatened species.

The screening and follow up discussion will take place in Room 126 of the State Capitol from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those wishing to attend or to arrange interviews with the participants should contact Heather Koszka in Assemblyman Fletcher’s office at 916-319-2075.

About RTSea Productions

RTSea Productions, based in Irvine, California, ( is dedicated to capturing nature and underwater images that will impress and move viewers to preserve and protect our precious natural resources – above and below the waves. RTSea has provided footage for National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, Google Earth, Aquarium of the Pacific, and others.

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