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Shark Week "How Sharks Hunt": Are they mishandling sharks to get the shot?


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#21 Drew

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:14 AM

For those who don't get Shark Week, here is the portion of the program which shows the tiger shark segment in its entirety. You'll have to jump to 4.30 to watch it. I won't embed it as it's not official Discovery Youtube trailers, just click and jump to about 4.30.



In the program, Dave Canterbury hand feeds Emma in chain mail. Of course this is TV and the TV personalities are going to need to do this personally to get ratings. Note the way Dave feeds Emma and how close the bait gets to Dave's leg.

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#22 BDSC

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:28 AM

I just watched the clip called, "This is your Ocean:Sharks"

I find it interesting that at the end some guy is pointing his finger at the crowd and says, "This is your ocean and these are your sharks."

Maybe that attitude is part of the problem. I don't see the ocean as belonging to us or anything in it for that matter. Those are not "our sharks".

#23 loftus

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:38 AM

I just watched the clip called, "This is your Ocean:Sharks"

I find it interesting that at the end some guy is pointing his finger at the crowd and says, "This is your ocean and these are your sharks."

Maybe that attitude is part of the problem. I don't see the ocean as belonging to us or anything in it for that matter. Those are not "our sharks".

Hmmm..... I hardly think that's meant in the way you interpret it. Rather that the ocean and the sharks in it are our responsibility, to protect, that is.
In her recent book Sylvia Earle makes the case quite eloquently that the ocean is our life support system, and in that respect belongs to and is essential to, all of us.
Sharks, are an important part of this life support system.
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#24 melia01

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:38 PM

Does anyone know how to get in direct contact with the person or people at Discovery who are responsible for approving what shows become part of Shark Week? I am normally a fan of the company's general programming, but I have some concerns about Shark Week that I would like to voice. Thanks!

#25 Drew

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:32 PM

I just watched the clip called, "This is your Ocean:Sharks"

I find it interesting that at the end some guy is pointing his finger at the crowd and says, "This is your ocean and these are your sharks."

Maybe that attitude is part of the problem. I don't see the ocean as belonging to us or anything in it for that matter. Those are not "our sharks".

Jeff is right. I think that line is telling us to be responsible for what happens in the ocean and its creatures. However, you are right that humans see everything as a resource. That is not going to change either!

Does anyone know how to get in direct contact with the person or people at Discovery who are responsible for approving what shows become part of Shark Week? I am normally a fan of the company's general programming, but I have some concerns about Shark Week that I would like to voice. Thanks!



Clark Bunting is the GM of Discovery Channel and the Executive in Charge of Production, ie his name is at the end of EVERY program on Discovery. Shark week was started by him. There was an open letter sent in '07 by the shark conservation groups along with industry types. In fact, in 08/09, those same groups pitched different ideas @ Discovery for more informed programming choices. Of course, we get drivel like the stuff you see in the links above. His email has changed in the last few years :)
The problem is that shark week has 30 million viewers annually based on the present system. So the "style" of programming isn't going to change very quickly on Discovery's on volition. So the issues have to be handled from a different angle. Other advocate groups started sending letters in since '05.
Perhaps the programming will slowly change since programs like "Rogue Shark", while still using the mindless maneater to promote the program, actually has some actual science and positive conclusions for sharks.

You can leave your feedback of the program here:

Discovery Channel Viewer Feedback

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#26 Ryan

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 08:06 AM

Thanks Drew for bringing up this delicate topic. I don't think there is anything derogatory or unfair toward Dolphin Dream posted here. Ultimately they are responsible for their own actions, and they made the decision that the charter fees they'd gain and any followup business that was encouraged by their association with this program was worth the business they'd lose from people who disagree with this sensationalist portrayal.

In addition to contacting Discovery, maybe some feedback might influence how the staff of Dolphin Dream handles sharks, and the access they give film crews in the future?

http://www.dolphindr...Sched/form.html or info@dolphindreamteam.com

I personally disagree with the handling of this animal, but that isn't even my biggest problem with these companies.

In my opinion this segment only perpetuates the man eater myth. It is also my opinion that the man eater myth makes it easy for people to overlook the global overfishing of sharks. If I were an operator in the position to influence public perception, I'd do everything in my power to do it. I'll support businesses that have similar values.

I have less sympathy for Gurney Productions than Dolphin Dream. I doubt that voicing concerns over their portrayals of sharks would have any impact. Contacting their sponsors might, though. I'm not sure that Suunto would appreciate their products being associated with this kind of programming.

http://www.gurneypro...m/show_sponsors

Edited by Ryan, 17 August 2011 - 08:07 AM.

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#27 Drew

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:17 AM

Good suggestions Ryan.
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Discovery also has an ethics hotline for their employees, including the production crews. How Sharks Hunt may not apply but perhaps "Surviving Sharks" and the stunts they pulled does.

The Bionic Bob dummy getting bitten by Tiger sharks segment at Tiger beach is unethical on 2 fronts. One, they allegedly use fish scent on the wetsuit of the dummy to get the sharks to approach. That's faking it, which admittedly a lot of other programs do. After all, it is TV.
Secondly, with the association to food factor gaining more weight with the Sharm El Sheik attacks, it'd potentially endanger the people diving in the area. Apparently the latest theory by Ralph Collier, as discussed on Discovery's own Rogue Shark program, lends more weight to the habituation of oceanics being fed by hand and associating humans with food. This included where and how the shark bit the victims.

Both are very thin when it comes to actual ethical breaches but hey it's no thinner than the bad science the Guerney programs pretend to use. :)
I don't think this is a delicate matter at all. Facts are all there for people to see and decide for themselves.

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#28 stewsmith

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:02 PM

Am I correct to assume that you have never sent an email or letter to the Dolphin Dream Captain to voice your concerns Drew. I would have thought that would have been the first thing that you done after the very first time of viewing the footage.

If you did email them, what was the Captains response? I would be interested in hearing what Scott had to say on this matter.

What about Guerney? were they emailed with a letter of complaint? What response did you get from them?

I agree that if no email or letters have been sent then it would be a good idea to approach the Captain with reasons why he should not use chain and lead weights and any other suggestions that are beneficial to sahrk conservation. That doesnt mean that I think that emails should be sent slagging the guy off, I feel it would be better to have someone like Shawn explain what he feels is wrong and what course of action should be taken to rectify the problems. As I have said the Captain is a sound guy and if approached in the correct manner would listen.

Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 18 August 2011 - 12:50 AM.

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#29 stewsmith

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:17 AM

With no response in 6 days to the last posting where I asked you quite specific questions and also no response to my PM that I sent you Drew I will assume that you have never raised these issues with the Dolphin Dream directly, but you feel it is perfectly acceptable to continue to slag the company off. Shame on you.

Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 24 August 2011 - 05:18 AM.

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#30 Drew

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:43 AM

Stew,

I didn't answer because the facts are already there for all to read. Moreover, I don't think your line of question is about the topic anymore. I will, however, answer your questions for the sake of clarifying a few things.

As far as contacting the involved parties is concerned, the letters were sent to Discovery / the producers of shark week, hence would reach the production companies and even Les Stroud. Les, in turn, responded by appearing in PSA messages touting shark conservation, even going on Larry King to proclaim his conservation stance. Still, he continued working with Guerney on shows like Surviving Shark with Bionic Bob etc. The other posters like Ryan, have been able to glean from the programming that Guerney Productions are clearly not about to change based on criticism but probably want it for controversy to boost ratings.

As Shawn and Ryan has alluded, Dolphin Dream were told of the controversy (even existing customers talked to them regarding their practices) and they made a choice to allow shows like How Sharks Hunt to be shot on the boat. It's clear what their position is.

Funnily enough, you yourself claimed to have sent Dolphin Dream an email as well, questioning what was allowed on the Dolphin Dream and considered it harassment of the sharks! Obviously that was just a video with play acting and clever editing. I fail to see how people play fighting and not actually TOUCHING any sharks was harassment in your view, to the point where you were outraged by Eric's indifference to the video. Yet having an untrained wrangler like Cody to muscle the bait , wrangling the shark with chains and a lead weight, where the shark can damage their skin and loose teeth, and as clearly shown in the video, also endangering the crew, all for the sake of a TV shot, isn't harassment of wildlife?

You claim I'm "constantly" "slagging" (your word not mine) DD whenever I can. I count 4 posts in the last 3-4 years about Dolphin Dream. The 1st post, I was factually recounting what happened on the Dolphin Dream during the production of the programs and the rest discussing what happened. Shark Week is an annual event and programs will be the talking point during or after the week is over, very much like this thread. The programs are all shot within a year or 2 of broadcast and are current. You may find it extraneous but 1200 hits and the various responses proves these topics to be relevant for discussion, which is the point of the forum.

Only in 1 post do I bring up the issue in a thread that was very relevant because I think it's an important one. Judging from the response of posters in this thread, I am not the only one to think that the operators should be more responsible for the shark's well being. The embedded videos show what's going on on the boat during the productions, not the atypical client trips.

I hope this answers your queries sufficiently. I, like Shawn and others, would be very happy if operators like DD and Guerney would stop this sort of antics. Evidently their stance on this is intransigent. Similarly, judging from your recent posts and the shifts in your position, this is less about the topic of the thread and more about personal attack, which is not allowed on WP.

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#31 stewsmith

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 01:54 AM

So YOU have never contacted the Dolphin Dream Drew. Or Guerney Productions. Thanks for answering my questions.

Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 25 August 2011 - 01:55 AM.

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#32 John Bantin

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 09:29 AM

I'm sorry but I do detect some prejudice in thread towards one operation as against another. We all have friends and it is unfair to see a friend unfairly pilloried but as Stuart Cove would say "Did they spell the name right?"

Edited by John Bantin, 26 August 2011 - 09:43 AM.

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