Is Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week' Doing More Harm Than Good?

Is Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week' Doing More Harm Than Good?

Posted by Georgia Wilson on 26th Jul 2018

Currently, the Discovery Channel’s annual ‘Shark Week’ is hitting the screens with such titles as 50 Best Bites, Monster Tag and Sharkwrecked. It’s a week full of shark shows which claim to be raising awareness on the misconception of these animals, but perhaps they are only raising concerns.  

Last week on our Facebook page, we posted a poll asking our followers if they believed that the media is responsible for creating fear and negativity around sharks: 96% agreed that the media is responsible. 

So, if Shark Week is feeding the fear of swimming past the shallows and the extremely rare possibility of attack, then are these the appropriate shows to educate us everyday people on what these creatures are really like?

The show Sharkwrecked, in particular, appears to contradict its "underlying message of conservation" by essentially encouraging shark attacks. You can read James Glancy's interview and decide for yourself whether this show will aid the conservation of the shark species. 

Since you’re more likely to be struck by lightning or die by falling over than killed by a shark, we thought you might like some alternative shark-based content that isn't just in it for the shock-factor...

Firstly, check out our Shark Awareness Day blog to learn more about why there’s no need to fear sharks, as well as learning about the threats that they face.

And instead of watching the entertainment-based programs released this ‘Shark Week’, turn your attention to these shark conservation trailers for documentaries that really show the reality and the plight of these intelligent animals!

WARNING: some of these documentaries contain graphic content including the shark finning practice, that some viewers may find upsetting.


This documentary, released in 2011 and produced by George C. Schellenger, will open your eyes and “shatter your perception of sharks”. Three artists (Guy Harvey, Wyland and Jim Abernethy) will talk you through the wonderful world of sharks and what will happen if we don’t protect them. The star of the show is tiger shark Emma. 

Buy: This Is Your Ocean: Sharks.


The 2006 documentary Sharkwater was directed by Rob Stewart and is another film exampling the reality of sharks – “they are not our enemy”. Join Rob on his whirlwind adventure as he fights for shark protection. Following this successful documentary, Rob Stewart produced the 2012 film Revolution, where he illuminates the concerns of climate change and environmental destruction, with a main focus on the actions taken by young people to save their planet’s future.

Buy: Sharkwater.


Previously a National Geographic photographer, Louis Psihoyos follows his award-winning documentary The Cove, with Racing Extinction: a risky mission to expose and stop the illegal wildlife trade. Although this documentary isn’t solely focused on sharks, it certainly highlights illegal acts of shark finning, culling and processing whale sharks and harvesting basking shark oil. Using state of the art technology and artistic vision, his team show why we should all take action to prevent any species from extinction.

Buy: Racing Extinction

Keen to aid shark conservation yourself? Why not join one of our shark conservation projects! You could be cage diving, data-collecting and swimming with whale sharks in no time! Check out our volunteer with sharks page. 


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