aNewDomain.net — It’s that time of year again. It’s Shark Week 2013, brought to you by the Discovery Channel. Back when I was a host of the tech TV show Cyberlife on Discovery, with me and co-host Chris Eddy, we used to joke that our tech show was breaking ground on a channel you could build a drinking game around. Turn on the TV, and if Discovery was showing a documentary about Nazis or sharks, you had to drink. The shark and Nazi channel, we called it. For the record, none of us ever played that game.
But let’s be fair. Discovery is second only to Jacques Cousteau in creating a deeper understanding of one of the most-unjustly reviled — and feared — predators on Earth. Humans kill hundreds of thousands of sharks every year compared to the very few humans that sharks kill.
This annual slaughter is due, primarily, to shark fin fishing. Often, fishermen kill sharks just to gain their fins for shark fin soup, a delicacy for millions of humans. Most fishermen just slice off the fin, leaving the shark in the ocean to bleed to death.
The numbers on shark attacks are another story. I grew up in Ormond Beach, a beach town in Volusia County, Florida.
According to researchers who contributed data to the infographic below, Volusia County is the shark attack capital of the world. This explains why I am used to seeing one-legged surfers on boards, when friends in New York and California think I’m just making that up.
Check out the Shark Attack infographic below, courtesy George H. Burgess of the International Shark Attack file, Martin and Martin, the Florida Museum of National History, Discovery and Visual.li.
Gina Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s memoir, ” iWOZ: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It”. (W.W. Norton, 2005/2007/2012). With John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle, she is editorial director at aNewDomain.net. Email her at gina@aNewDomain.net, check out her Google + stream here or follow her @ginasmith888.
shark week this year was a complete and utter disappointment. When did they go from making intersting educational stuff about sharks to helping spread fear and misinformation about them? Lame D channel, totally lame.
I completely agree with you, Lee. This is borderline propaganda. I’ve heard that Shark Week has been disappointing the last few years, but always gave Shark Week credit; I thought any channel that educated people about sharks and their nature was worth watching… But this chart is just a dumb tacit to reel in viewers. I’m so disappointed that Discovery would lower their standards this far. There is a huge problem with shark finning, shark hunting, etc. etc. and this just promotes ill feelings towards the creatures. The scariest things about sharks is when they’re gone.