UPDATE: Discovery has announced that Shark Week is scheduled to begin on Sunday, July 28 and will run through August 4.
In the USA and now in many other parts of the world, Shark Week is a big deal. Even if you aren’t a big fan of the show, you have probably heard about Shark Week at some point in your life, either on Social Media platforms or from that friend who owns a shark onesie and disappears for a week during the summer.
But the question may still remains, what exactly is Shark Week? And why do people celebrate it? Don’t worry. In the following post, we will explain everything you need to know about Shark Week.
What is Shark Week?
Basically, Shark Week is an annual, week-long programming block on the Discovery Channel which usually takes place in July or August.
Shark Week is now broadcasted in over 72 countries around the world. It gets heavily promoted by fans all over Social Media networks and by fans of the Discovery Channel.
How Did Shark Week Start?
Shark Week originally aired back in 1988 on July 17th. It is the longest-running television event in history and has continued to grow in popularity every year since.
The show was originally meant to raise awareness and respect for sharks through the use of documentaries, factual information, and interesting film footage. Unfortunately, Shark Week now has a more entertainment-oriented focus on fictional documentaries.
The Controversy of Shark Week
The Discovery Channel has actually come under fire in the last couple of years for producing “docufiction” and forgetting the original purpose of Shark Week.
Docufiction are fictional documentaries which are packaged with facts which misguide the audience into thinking sharks are dangerous predators who are out to kill humanity. Which any real shark lover would know, not to be true.
In fact, the annual global average is six fatalities per year from shark attacks. In 2018 there were a total of 66 confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks and were five fatal attacks, four of which were confirmed to be unprovoked.
One of the fictitious programs in question included programs like Megladon: The Monster Shark Lives, which actually led to a large number of people to believe that this shark species is still alive and angered many scientists and viewers alike. This was mainly because a docufiction program packaged as fact and was aired on a channel known for its educating of the public.
It was due to the show of Megladon: The Monster Shark Lives which further popularized Shark Week. It holds the rank as being the most watched episode to date with over 4.8 million viewers.
Help Raise Awareness For Sharks Every Week
Just like puppies aren’t only for Christmas, sharks shouldn’t be forgotten every other week of the year. Shark Week can be fun, but let’s remember the reason that Shark Week started in the first place – to help raise awareness and teach respect for these apex predators.
Help share awareness about the threats that sharks face, not just during Shark Week, but as often as you can. So why not brush up on your facts about sharks, or even educate some of your friends and family members about sharks.
If you are excited for Shark Week, and already have plans to attend or even throw a Shark Party, help raise awareness by adding these shark party ideas to your Shark Week itinerary!
- Adopt a Shark
- Sign a Petition – Save Sharks
- Raise Money for a Charity
- Say No to Shark Fin Soup
- Shark Cake Bake Sale
- Buy a Sugar Shark Bracelet
- Share your Love for Sharks on Social Media
- Exchange Shark Gifts
- Use Less Plastic
- Shop Using Amazon Smile
How to Celebrate Shark Week?
Even due to the controversy of the event, many people still go ahead and celebrate Shark Week, after all, it’s become a long-awaited annual event.
Personally, I think it’s a great thing to celebrate. But while you do, take some time to learn about sharks, and educate yourself and others about the threats that they face every day of the year.
Many sharks continue to face threats of extinction, due to overfishing, shark finning, and human pollution. It’s important that we raise awareness for these creatures and help protect them.
Many people host shark and viewing parties in celebration of Shark Week. Groups of people come together to binge watch the Discovery Channel, Shark Movies and even play Shark Week Drinking Games!
We are all looking forward to this year’s Shark Week. Maybe the Discovery Channel will revert back to their original educational shows to help raise awareness about the impending extinction of these amazing creatures.