Shockingly, a primary contributor to this poor representation of these key species is the Discovery Channel, a TV channel dedicated to nature who should be leading conservation efforts and educating the public around the world. The ratings-led programming of Shark Week, now in its 25th year of airtime, relies on sensationalism and violent depictions, rather than relaying essential information and supporting conservation.
Shark Week, was initially conceived to help generate respect for sharks, however, the current programming relies on feeding viewer's thrill for fear and promoting violence against man. The information provided is biased against the shark species, rather than impartial and objective towards these over-exploited creatures. Even a brief infomercial between programmes giving out facts and numbers about these fast-dwindling populations, or one positive conservation based programme amongst Air Jaws Apocalypse, Sharkzilla, How Sharks Fight and Shark Week's 25 Best Bites, would be sufficient in communicating vital information to the numerous fans of Shark Week.
Discovery should have a duty towards addressing the extinction issue facing many shark species, highlighting the fact that our ignorance is leading to the deaths of 73 million sharks last year – rather than focusing on the 15 human deaths in the same time frame.