Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, Shark Week is here again. I could hardly stand the suspense!  Starting July 23, the Discovery Channel’s offerings come with distinctly mixed messages.


“an event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before.”

great-white- shark, burt Jones, maureen shimlock, marine life, shark weekShark Week jump-starts with what the Discovery Channel hypes as “an event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before.” With very good reason. This “monumental event” showcases Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps in gladiatorial combat (or at least a race) with a Great White Shark.

“One trained to be the best since the day he was born…the other has been perfected by EVOLUTION.” the narrator growls in a fantastic bit of hyperbole. (photo – Burt Jones)

In this contest of the ages, Phelps (who will be wearing full body armor or at least a full body suit and fins) will race against an apparently naked Great White Shark. Who will win? Phelps is given a 21 percent chance of beating the shark by one gambling website that emphasizes “Probably for the first time ever, Phelps is an underdog.”


Will it be Gold or White for Ocean Supremacy?

“The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator.” We watched as Phelps won 23 Olympic Golds so we know he’s fast, topping out at 6 miles an hour, but Great Whites can do 20 miles per hour, so who will rule supreme?

Fact check:  A Great White is a laggard compared to a Marlin that has a top speed of 50mph and the Sailfish is the fastest fish in the sea clocked at 68 mph. 


We Need to Tackle the Real Issues

Setting all the sensationalism aside the Discovery Channel is hopefully cleaning up its act, by presenting the serious issues confronting sharks and portraying sharks in trouble, and humans as the problem. There are 18 specials during Shark Week Schedule see the schedule here.

Watch ‘Phelps vs. Shark: The Battle for Ocean Supremacy at 7 p.m. CT on Sunday, July 23 on Discovery Channel.

By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network


Shark Stories That Are Our Contributions to Shark Week

3 Myths About Shark’s Fin You Have to Stop Believing
Grey Nurse Sharks – The Unfortunate Victims of JAWS
Forget The Sharks: How 47 Meters Down Fails Dive Science
Illegal Shark Fins Found Aboard Foreign Fishing Vessels


Plus See These Related Blue Ocean Posts

Ban the Trade in Shark Fins
A Guide to Best Practices for Shark and Ray Tourism
Old Fish, New Fish, All Things Fish, plus Whales, Sharks and Dugongs
Culling Sharks is Not the Answer


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