Shark Week 2016 – A Conservationist’s Nightly, Follow-Along Guide (Programs on Wednesday, June 29)

Posted on June 29, 2016
Written by: Samantha Whitcraft

Shark Week continues with another night of new programming. You can check the program line-up, here. Again, we’ve compiled some conservation facts around tonight’s shows to provide you a broader understanding about the status of the sharks presented. 

9 pm EST – Deadliest Shark 

The good news is that we finally get a program, this season, which is not focused on Great White Sharks. This show will focus on Oceanic Whitetip Sharks. Less encouraging is the potential focus of the program – attacks. It is worth noting, again, that the best source of information, with reliable statistics and excellent yearly summaries, is the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File. Their 2015 report states that, “The numerical growth in human-shark interactions does not necessarily mean there is an increase in the rate of shark attacks; rather, it most likely a function of the growing human population.  The actual rate of attack likely is declining owing to the ever-increasing amount of time spent in the sea by humans.

Although, historically, Oceanic Whitetip sharks have been associated with attacks, they are now highly valued by divers and photographers who travel to remote locations to appreciate them in their natural habitat. Since records have been collected, the International Shark Attack file lists only three confirmed, unprovoked fatal attacks on humans by this species, disqualifying them for the title of “deadliest”. 

Yearly, more people are killed by dogs, mosquitos, and car accidents, by far, than by sharks. During that same time period 100’s of thousands of sharks are killed for sport, in fisheries, as bycatch, and for their fins and other products including meat, oil, and cartilage. 

Here is some additional information about the species:

~ The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species lists the Oceanic Whitetip Shark as Vulnerable with a decreasing current population trend. The species write-up states that the population in Northwest and Western Central Atlantic has suffered enormous declines. With one estimate suggesting that over just the past 30 years, there has been a 98% decrease in the population in those areas due primarily to pelagic longline and drift net fisheries. 

~ Since 2013, Oceanic Whitetip Sharks have been listed CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix II which applies to species that “are not now threatened with extinction but may become so unless trade is closely controlled."

~ A 2014 WildAid Report revealed that Oceanic Whitetip sharks are one of the 14 species of sharks most prevalent in the shark fin trade with regional population declines of 70 to 99%.

10 pm EST – Sharks vs. Dolphins: Face Off

This show will feature Tiger Sharks and dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia site of the longest running and most comprehensive study of the ecological role of large, coastal sharks. For more information on the conservation status of Tiger Sharks, you can check out our first #SharkWeek2016 blog, here.

~ Since 2011, Shark Bay, Western Australia has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site containing a total formal conservation area of approximately 1.24 million hectares. It also contains the largest seagrass bed in the world that is estimated to cover 103,000 hectares, prime habitat for Tiger Sharks.

Enjoy Shark Week 2016 and be sure to follow Shark Savers on Twitter @Sharksavers as we live-Tweet during the shows; we’ll be using and follow #SharkWeek and #SharkWeek2016.

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