Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sharksploitation or Conservationsploitation or Both?

Free-diving with a Great White Shark, being one with it is a great idea if you're a self proclaimed shark conservationist, right? You're showing just how non aggressive, nice and cuddly those sharks really are.

They love humans and are just misunderstood.

This is the message Ocean Ramsey is trying to get out in this video. Or is she?

Great White Shark at Isla Guadalupe after interacting with another Shark
I've been observing and diving with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe for 11 years and have literally spent thousands of hours watching them, observing their behavior and interactions. I can honestly say that I love those sharks and the one thing I can absolutely state is, that that feeling is  NOT mutual. While the sharks are definitely interested in us, seem to recognize individual people and swim by just to check us out, looking each diver straight into the eyes, they do not have warm fuzzy feelings towards humans.

Let's put this in perspective. Everything in the Great White Sharks society is, by human standards, extremely violent. Their interactions range from giving each other space and and respecting the others size, to violently biting each other. I have never seen two sharks touch each other, without any violent response. They do not form human like bonds and get touchy feely with each other. Even their mating involves biting each other in order to hold on.

So back to Ocean Ramsey and her video. Not only do I not agree with the portrayal of the Great White Shark as a harmless creature, I think that diving down and holding on to the sharks can actually make them more dangerous to humans. If they don't like being held onto, they might start to associate humans with being a nuisance and treating them accordingly.

Where do these stunts lead to? What is the next person that wants to get their 15 minutes of fame going to do? Open the sharks mouth and brush it's teeth? Her video is not about shark conservation but simply an attempt at self promotion. If we really are concerned with shark conservation, we need to accurately show what these magnificent creatures are like. They are neither mindless killers, nor are they pets.

Martin Graf
Managing Director

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at


DaShark said...

Hear hear!
somebody really should put a stop to these stupid self promoting antics - who's the operator who enabled this?

Martin Graf said...

I'm not sure when they shot this. There are a couple of operators at Guadalupe that allow this kind of stuff.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Does it really matter at this point?