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Great white sharks: magnificent mysteries

Published June 10, 2008

By Guest Contributor Richard Theiss, owner of RTSea Productions

Great white sharks: one of the most magnificent and misunderstood of all the ocean’s creations. Perhaps you already appreciate the vital role sharks play in maintaining balance in the marine ecosystem, but when it comes to the great white, that’s where you draw the line. If so, come to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for a screening of Island of the Great White Shark on June 18th at 7 p.m. (For ticketing information, click here or call 410-727-3474.) 

As executive producer and cinematographer of Island of the Great White Shark, the Aquarium has honored me with the opportunity to kick off the Beyond the Boardwalk summer event series. Here is a chance to see an accurate and up-close portrait of these amazing animals and to learn about the vital research of marine scientists dedicated to protecting these sharks from possible extinction. And as we begin our summer fun, perhaps it’s a perfect time to set matters straight.

According to recent news reports, there would seem to be a heightened degree of shark activity from the California/Mexico coast to Martha’s Vineyard. In the end, it might just be one of those unexplained anomalies. But will the media pick up on this and herald a new “Summer of Jaws?"  Will people’s fear and misunderstanding be reinforced by sensationalistic reporting?

Well, as supporters of the National Aquarium and lovers of all things aquatic, that’s where you come in. As I have held screening/lectures for Island of the Great White Shark at major aquariums across the country, I find myself typically “preaching to the choir,” so I often pose this question: “Most of you here have probably never had or ever will have shark fin soup. So you may not be part of the problem, but how do we make you part of the solution?” That gets people scratching their heads.

We must all become disciples to the cause. We need to enlighten those who are still in the dark regarding shark-human interaction and shark conservation. With Island of the Great White Shark, I hope as many people as possible see and hear a different perspective regarding the public’s perceived “Darth Vader” of all sharks.

Whether it’s shark protection, marine conservation, or global warming, we need to make changes in our daily lives and we need to exercise our ability to influence others – our leaders, our nation, governments, and businesses – to move in the right direction. Act by example, vote by choice, influence by action.


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