During the seven days of the recent Shark Week, human beings slaughtered an estimated 1,923,077 sharks for their fins globally. If we killed each other at the same rate, we’d wipe out humanity in 76 years. The new film “Love Story” offers a different narrative about sharks — if we can be romantic about baseball, surely, we can care as much about sharks.
Ending the shark-fin trade
Senator Cory Booker and Representative Ed Royce put forth the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2017, but it has not yet passed. (Click here to find out what you can do to help the process). President Bill Clinton signed the Shark Finning Prohibition Act into law in 2000, banning the physical act of shark finning on any vessel within United States waters and on United States-flagged vessels. But it stopped short of ending the trade entirely, so importing/exporting has continued in the U.S.
Whether or not the Fin Trade Elimination Act passes, sharks are disappearing at an alarming rate — so quickly that divers who have been diving the same location for as few as 10 years can visibly notice the decline — or in some cases the total absence — of their presence. While politicians are arguing, we’ve tried in “Love Story” to show the true nature of sharks and make masses of people love them as they do dolphins. As Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum said in 1968, “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”
Discovery Channel must use Shark Week’s voice to lead this new narrative, perhaps recapturing some of the show’s original audience that has long since moved on. After all, can there be a Shark Week if there are no sharks? What “Jaws” did to create the false shark narrative will take generations to undo, but we’re out of time, so it must be us and it must be now.
By guest author Shawn Mahoney
– Filmed by Shawn Mahoney
– Wetsuit by HECS Aquatic
– Shot on Canon 1DX MKII, Paralenz, GoPro Hero 6
– Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III
– Aerial footage on DJI Mavic
– Music by Julian Cisneros