Sunday, June 28, 2009
Last Friday, I was lucky enough to catch a free showing of Sharkwater at the Park Theater, presented by the Vancouver Aquarium.
While it has been a very movie-centic week (Sharkwater, Transformers 2, Night at the Museum 2, and a Ghostbusters double feature in theaters), I haven't neglected the prehistoric side of life! ART Evolved's third Gallery - Pterosaurs - is opening up on July 1st! Canada Day! My azhdarchid piece is almost finished. Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyway, sharks...
When I was seven, I watched a taped-off-the-tv VHS copy of Jaws (the swearing was edited out by just cutting the sound!) This and the subsequent 99 viewings changed my life. Most people end up scared of the water after seeing Jaws, but me, I became drawn to the sea and to the great beasts within. I fell in love with sharks, so I had to learn to dive.
Sadly, I seem to be unique in my response. What Jaws and the subsequent media frenzy did was label sharks as ugly, mindless, savage, killing machines, unchanged for millions of years, who hunt and kill humans. People became terrified of the animals and felt no remorse for killing them. This shark apathy allowed the explosion of shark-finning operations. Over 100 million sharks were, and are still killed annually, with fins fetching over $300 each!
And if you will allow me to continue ranting, once the fins have been cut off the shark, it is thrown back into the water, still alive and unable to swim. It either dies of blood-loss or drowns once it's on the bottom and cannot move forward. All this just to make soup.
But no one cares because they are sharks.
No one except Rob Stewart.
Stewart is a Canadian film-maker with a passion and a love for sharks. He made the 2007 documentary Sharkwater in the effort to stop shark-finning in Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands. Being one year younger than me and a Canadian with a passion for film and sharks, I feel a certain connection with him. His movie is an amazing and exciting tale of the beauty of sharks.
Please see this movie if you haven't already. Read and learn about sharks. Don't eat at restaurants that serve shark-fin soup. Sign petitions calling for a stop to shark-finning. Support campaigns to save sharks at SaveTheBlue. See them in aquariums.
Should we blame Jaws for the world's terror and apathy towards sharks? Are there any redeeming features?
Sharkwater and Jaws are great films, each an opposing view of a beautiful and impressive creature. The shark.