Much like summer picnics and summer vacations, Discovery Channel‘s annual “Shark Week” returns once again this August. The “Shark Week” specials are always amazing, both in the terrific videos of sharks and also in the information presented. It seems like I learn something new about the animals every year. Here’s all the details on this year’s event as well as an episode guide and “shark attack facts.” Enjoy and discuss the specials and sharks over in our forums!
— Six Premieres to Air in 22nd Annual SHARK WEEK, Including Drama Based on True Story That Inspired Jaws —
People have long been fascinated with the ocean’s apex predator. But before 1916, average Americans knew very little about sharks. It was that year sharks made headlines as the New Jersey shore became a feeding ground, when five people were attacked in 12 days, triggering a nationwide panic. It was the first multiple shark attack in American history, and the reason we fear sharks to this day. BLOOD IN THE WATER is a gripping two-hour drama that brings to life the true story that inspired Jaws, and kicks off this year’s SHARK WEEK on Sunday, August 2, 2009, at 9PM ET/PT.
SHARK WEEK, cable’s longest-running event, will feature six premieres this year. Find out if sharks behave any differently during the day than at night; what makes certain areas of the world shark attack “hot spots”; and what still puzzles scientists about the most feared shark of them all — the great white. The week will be rounded out by some of the most popular and memorable programs from past years.
Once again this year, Discovery Channel will educate the public about the plight of sharks around the world through public service announcements produced in conjunction with SHARK WEEK marine conservation partner Ocean Conservancy. The PSAs will air each night during primetime, informing viewers about threats currently facing plummeting shark populations.
Viewers who want to know more about sharks can log on to the SHARK WEEK website. The robust site will feature:
· Live blogging with marine biologist and Discovery Channel Shark Advisor Andy Dehart
· Exclusive video with a fun video mixer
· Shark Facts in Facebook format (i.e., favorite hangouts, favorite foods)
· Return of Sharkrunners — the critically acclaimed alternate reality game where avid shark fans become conservation-minded shark researchers, managing their own research vessel to collect shark data. They also have the ability to form research communities at the Sharkrunners HQ to undertake joint missions and gain more data — and research dollars.
SHARK WEEK premieres Sunday, August 2, 2009, and features six all-new programs:
BLOOD IN THE WATER
This gripping drama brings to life the true story that inspired Jaws. In 1916, the New Jersey shore became a feeding ground as five people were attacked in 12 days, triggering a nationwide panic. It was the first multiple shark attack in American history, and the reason we fear sharks to this day.
DAY OF THE SHARK 2
In this harrowing hour, see what happens when a great white breaks through a 300-pound aluminum shark cage and traps the divers inside; when another tackles a former Navy Seal in shallow waters in the early evening off St. Petersburg, Florida; and when a bull shark invades a spearfishing trip in the Bahamas. When you’re a visitor in the vast and complex ocean, any day could be the “Day of the Shark.”
SURVIVORMAN’s Les Stroud is back for more shark action — this time venturing to five of the most notorious shark-infested waters in the world to find out which is the most dangerous. Les will initiate a series of immersive tests in these high-fatality “hot spots” to determine what makes these waters so deadly.
GREAT WHITE APPETITE
One of the most feared predators on earth, the great white shark patrols the shores of more than 50 percent of the world’s inhabited coastlines. And yet, scientists still don’t have accurate data on their population, mating practices, traveling patterns or even what drives their feeding behavior. Former Force Recon Marine Charles Ingram travels the globe with shark experts, seeking out answers to these and additional fascinating questions.
SHARK AFTER DARK
We know that sharks are active and can be quite aggressive during the day, but we know little about what they do at night. Now, armed with the latest in infrared heat-sensing cameras and night vision technology, a team of divers descends into the dark abyss on a mission to learn more about shark behavior after the sun goes down.
This is the definitive account of America’s 2001 “Summer of the Shark,” when the ocean’s apex predators attacked more than 50 swimmers off U.S. beaches. SHARKBITE SUMMER returns to the attack sites and — using news footage, interviews with victims, witnesses, surgeons, family members and shark experts — builds a clear picture of what happened that summer.
SHARK ATTACK FACTS
From Andy Dehart, Discovery Channel Shark Advisor and Director of Biological Programs at the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C.:
*In 2008, there were 59 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, with only four fatalities. This number is down from 71 attacks in 2007 and continues a downward trend from the peak in 2000.
*In the United States, surfers and windsurfers comprise 56.6 percent of all shark attack victims.
*A number of the shark attack cases in Florida are perpetrated by blacktip and spinner sharks. These shark populations are growing as the populations of larger sharks — such as tiger sharks, which feed on these smaller shark species — decline.
*Of the 450 species of sharks, only three are truly considered deadly: great white, tiger and bull. Of the 45 species implicated in provoked or unprovoked attacks, these three species make up 50 percent of the total.
*Despite the statistics, people dive with the three most dangerous shark species every day without incident. Personally, I have spent more than 450 dives with tiger sharks without so much as a close call.
*At the height of shark attack incidents, in the year 2000, the odds of getting attacked by a shark were 1 in 11.5 million and the odds of being killed by that attack were less than 1 in 264 million. You have a greater chance of being killed by a dog (8,985,062 to 1, according to the National Safety Council).
*Shark attack statistics are broken into provoked and unprovoked attacks. Unprovoked attacks are random occurrences that often involve cases of mistaken identity, whereas provoked attacks occur around spearfishing, sea disasters, handling or other times when the sharks are brought to an area intentionally.
*There are, on average, 63 shark attacks per year, with less than five fatalities. Sharks, however, are being killed at a rate of 250,000 per day through targeted fishing and bi-catch. Some shark populations are in serious declines. The hammerhead population has declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years. Sharks clearly have more to fear from us than we do from them!
Data provided by the International Shark Attack Files.