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Another Way to Observe Shark Week?

by Rick Panna Thursday, Aug. 04, 2011 at 6:06 PM

"[T]he shark in an updated Jaws could not be the villain; it would have to be written as the victim; for, worldwide, sharks are much more the oppressed than the oppressors." -- Peter Benchley, author of Jaws

Another Way to Obser...
shark_finning_-_dead_shark_in_ocean.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x266

This week TV stations are observing Shark Week by running shows playing on people's fears of sharks. One even re-creates a grisly attack on a human. Meanwhile, individuals are paying homage to Jaws on their websites. It seems like a better way to observe Shark Week might be to learn more about sharks, how best to avoid contact with certain ones, and how we humans are eradicating them out of existence. Instead, sharks continue to be vilified, and the misconceptions (many arguably the result of Jaws) are being perpetuated. All of this makes them more desirable as hunting trophies, meals, and aquarium exhibits.

Peter Benchley, late author of the novel that inspired the Jaws movies (1940-2006) tried for many years to undo some of the misconceptions and sensationalism that has caused so much harm. His efforts included the 2007 book Shark Life: True Stories about Sharks and the Sea. It is based on Benchley's own real-life encounters with sharks over his 40-years of sea exploration and is written as a children's book. More here:

Benchley was once quoted in The Royal Gazette Online as saying: "[T]he shark in an updated Jaws could not be the villain; it would have to be written as the victim; for, worldwide, sharks are much more the oppressed than the oppressors."

He also discussed his concerns in this video:
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