It’s that time of year again, Discovery’s Shark Week kicks off for a whole week of shark-related stories, documentaries, raw video footage, and more. I get sucked into this just as much as anyone else, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everything shown on Shark Week is fact… especially not recently.
Sure, the shows may not be as obviously fake as Sharknado (fantastic film, btw), but as shark week enthusiasts, I encourage you all to remain wary of what the real stories are and what are overly dramatized and fictionalized shark “fauxmentaries” put in place to hike up ratings. An article in Discover magazine breaks it down nicely.
The lasting issue is that Shark Week has not only failed to provide real, scientific programming: their constant campaign of fraud is damaging to shark science and conservation. “Frighteningly, they’ve somehow done the impossible and actually contributed negatively to scientific research.”
“Rather than having Shark Week engage the audience with stories of the very real (and quite enthralling) research going on with elasmobranchs, those of us in the field now spend our public outreach efforts debunking silly things like “mermaids” and the continuing existence of Megalodon.” *Quote from David Kerstetter, Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center.
A lot of researchers agree that little truth remains on Discovery’s Shark Week… I’m not saying don’t watch shark week. But keep in mind the next time you watch “Great White Serial Killer”, that what may be presented as fact, may in fact be a distortion of the truth!