sharks are having a moment

31 July 2012


“A relationship, I think, is like a shark, it has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.” – Alvie Singer.

Well, not so fast Woody.

It is by no coincidence that sharks are kind of having a moment.

My shark fascination began as a little girl combing the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico in search of a coveted treasure: fossilized sharks teeth. I’d dig for hours, playing my best marine-biologist slash anthropologist identifying every tooth with great care.

A few years later, while working at the IGFA , a childhood fascination turned into a slight obsession. For those that are not familiar with the IGFA, it is the home of the Fishing Hall of Fame, the E.K. Harry Library of Fishes and four acres of wetlands complete with five very-much alive alligators. The IGFA in 1939 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City  by sport fishing legends, like: Ernest Hemingway, Michael Lerner and Zane Grey. The IGFA was later moved to a 60,000 square foot, $32 million museum in Dania Beach, Florida.  It was here that, as part of an exhibition to raise shark conservation awareness, I was introduced to the documentary Sharkwater.  Filmmaker Rob Stewart and renegade conservationist Paul Watson, better known as the Sea Shepherd captain on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, team up to expose the exploitation and corruption of  commercial fisherman and poachers who earn a hearty living by ruthlessly slaughtering sharks. And, as Michael Esposito of the Chicago Tribune puts it:

Sharkwater probably ranks as one of the most frightening shark movies ever — but sharks are the victims.”

Sharkwater went on to win a string of awards, and society took notice. Signs of hope began to peek through the carnage. President Barack Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act in 2011. January Jones, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ke$ha used their celebrity klout to raise awareness across multiple environmental campaigns.  Just last month, New York State joined Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington State by passing a bill to ban the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins. China, the world’s largest consumer of shark fin soup, has finally announced taking the item off the state government banquet menu; an announcement in which The Humane Society called a “monumental decision” and a “watershed moment for the global movement to protect sharks.” The conservation group Shark Savers said it “could be the best news for the oceans in some time.”

What can you do to help?

As we set fear aside, sharks emerge as likable, fascinating creatures with a 400 million year-old evolutionary journey. There’s no coincidence that a recent culture of shark-lovers have emerged.  Beyond donning a sweet great-white t-shirt or sporting a gold charm, raise your own awareness, and that of others, by watching Sharkwater, available here; boycott any restaurant that serves shark fin soup; check this updated list here; and read Demon Fish because, by the end of the book, you’ll be a full fledged shark activist too.

Now let’s allow sharks to have a celebratory moment.

great white makes fierce cameo at fashion week // givenchy sharks tooth necklace SS11 // kiddlywinks in masks // Sophie Aschauer in New York// no shark needed, Bubblegum pink faux shark  // pastel ombre hair < sharkhandbag // emily and her sharkbite cupcakes //  dainty gold charm on yours truly // givenchy clearly super into sharks, makes second appearance // etsy find cufflinks // longsleeves on betty // sharks + balloons = love. print from turquoise lollipops on etsy.  


We're over here now:

Jessica Arb Danial Art Advisory