MEADVILLE, PA – July 22, 2021 – Shark Week is many things. First and foremost, it’s a week of shark-themed documentary programming on the Discovery Channel. Now in its 33rd year, it’s the longest-running cable event in history. It’s the biggest audience that marine biologists and ocean conservationists get, attracting millions of viewers who might otherwise not ever think about sharks at all. It’s a stage that has launched careers of shark scientists and inspired many others to pursue jobs as ocean scientists.
However, a new analysis shows that Shark Week is also deeply flawed in ways that undermine its goals, potentially harming both sharks and shark scientists. To document just how pervasive these issues are, a team of researchers performed a content and discourse analysis of more than 200 Shark Week episodes.
“The public’s perception of sharks, shark science,