I have to admit, I have a soft spot for sharks. When I first learned to snorkel in the mid-1990s, I — like many other Americans — had a terrible fear of these awesome, dangerous predators of the deep. I love snorkeling more than life itself, but no snorkeling expedition for me was ever a truly calming experience. My heart always fluttered a bit every time I turned my head in the water or tried to see through a cloud of minnows. Part of me kept thinking that, just beyond what I couldn’t see, lay a shark waiting to lunge forward and eat the life out of me.
I knew enough about fears to know that the best way to conquer them is to educate oneself about those very fears. So I trooped over the library and checked out several of the best books I could find on sharks. I read about the different kinds of sharks, their long, ancient history, their colors, textures, eye shapes, habitats, feeding habits, geography, migration patterns — anything and everything to do with the ocean’s most dangerous animal.
Did I eventually overcome my fears? Uhm, no, actually. I still feel a little thrill of excitement mixed with trepidation every time I slip in the ocean for a little snorkeling. Stupid, I know, but there you go.
Still, one good thing came out of this: I came away with a deep and abiding respect for sharks. Sure, I still fear them, but I also now realize just how necessary they for the oceans to remain in balance and for our ecology to maintain its integrity.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that David McGuire, director and founder of Sea Stewards, will be the featured guest on our show on Monday, March 18th, at 8:00 pm Central/9:00 pm Eastern.
ABOUT DAVID MCGUIRE
A marine biologist and ocean advocate, David McGuire is the founder of the Ocean Health and Shark Conservation nonprofit Sea Stewards. As a Research Associate of the Department of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences, David is conducting a shark research program that includes population studies, movements and fisheries impacts.
As Captain, Dive Master and filmmaker, David has explored the world’s oceans on numerous sailing voyages, producing media with an emphasis on ocean awareness. Educated in Marine Biology, he holds a masters degree in Environmental Health and has worked in education and public health at the University of California at Berkeley for over a decade.
David is the writer, producer and underwater cinematographer of several award winning documentaries focusing on sharks. David has recently produced a new documentary on the sharks of San Francisco Bay and has recently worked as cameraman on feature films such as 180 South with Patagonia and A Beautiful Wave. Films in production includes a film on shark conservation and a series on local sustainable seafood. He has also published numerous articles on the state of the ocean and sharks and writes a blog on sharks and ocean health.
Through Sea Stewards he catalyzed the coalition leading to the passage of the California Shark Conservation Act (Fong, Huffman) in the State of California,the Shark Conservation Act, AB 376. The Shark Stewards project is dedicated to ending shark finning and the shark fin trade. Work on fin regulation is ongoing in other US states and in the Western Pacific through the Pacific Shark Coalition he founded with Asian partners.
As documentarian and diver, he has conducted expeditions with Academy researchers communicating the wonders of the natural world and ocean life and the need to protect them, including a 2011 two month expedition to the Philippines.
David is author of numerous articles and fiction and nonfiction books, including Surviving the Shark. He sits on several boards of nonprofits, including he San Francisco Green Film Festival and the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary Association. He has received numerous awards for his work including an award for Journalism with KQED for the investigative story Sea Horse Sleuth, the 2011 Hero of Marin Environmental Stewardship Award, and an Emmy award for his work on the documentary Reefs to Rainforests.
Be sure to tune in on Monday, the 18th, to listen to the show!