Review: Expedition Great White, Monday November 16 9 PM EST National Geographic Channel

sharkThere are some for whom tv fishing shows are the height of reality tv. ‘Expedition Great White’ will appeal to these folks. The idea is to tag some Great White Sharks, to find out where they go, what they do, where they breed… all the regular questions.

As a documentary, this was quite entertaining: will the Great White survive the capture and tagging? Will the crew? Apparently there is some eye-candy amongst the crew, in the form of some random actor fellow: will he get eaten? Hope springs eternal.

From the official release info –

A hundred sixty miles off the coast of Baja California, science and sport fishing join forces for an unprecedented research effort.  A team of world-class anglers will land one of the most challenging fish imaginable: the great white shark.  Unlike any other catch ever attempted, they’ll lift an SUV-sized shark out of the water onto a platform, mount a long-lasting tracking tag by hand, take measurements and DNA samples while pumping water into the shark’s mouth to keep it alive, and release it unharmed … all within minutes, like a NASCAR race pit stop.


Marine biologist Dr. Michael Domeier uses advanced tracking devices to help uncover how this predator lives, how it mates and where it roams, with the ultimate goal of conserving and protecting this endangered species.  “Ecosystems are changing fast today with the amount of overharvesting.  We don’t want to see them wiped off the face of the earth,” Domeier states in the film.  But he can’t do it alone.  He’ll rely on the fishing expertise of expedition leader Chris Fischer and crew members, including actor Paul Walker (“Fast and Furious”), who jumped in as a deckhand and quickly earned the crew’s respect.  With more than 1,000 hours of footage culled into 10 upcoming episodes, NGC gives the ultimate EXPEDITION WEEK sneak peak at this exciting series set to debut in 2010.

Expedition Great White airs Monday November 16 9 PM EST on the National Geographic Channel


4 thoughts on “Review: Expedition Great White, Monday November 16 9 PM EST National Geographic Channel


    The number one rule of shark conservation science should be “do no harm.”

    The second rule should be “and that includes reality television shows in the name of science.”

    I am not sure when conservationists and researchers decided to join reality television shows, but now it has happened little good has come of it.

    Case in point.

    As blow back for a seriously mishandled shark tagging effort at the Farallone islands continues to cause upset and anger within the shark community here in the Bay Area, a simply titanic media wave complete with PR agencies and live interviews on all major news networks pushes what is touted to be a 10 week reality television series about hooking great white sharks for science.

    The show even has an actor from L.A in a supporting role.

    Is this science?

    Perhaps it is, and then again perhaps it is a for profit production masquerading as science.

    The conflict of interest here is the reality television crew are also the crew members who hook the sharks, and fund the tagging research. A new and some say chilling departure from standard research models unencumbered by the addition of 24/7 embedded film crews.

    The fact remains that this team made a complete hash of a recent tagged shark, so bad in fact that industrial bolt cutters had to be employed to cut a hook (a copy now proudly displayed on television junkets) through the sharks gills to remove only a fraction of it from the animal. The rest was left embedded inside the shark..

    The team, film crew, and PR machine all claim this animal is “still alive and well,” few if any within the shark community believe them. Tonight the first reality episode airs to a primed and waiting public. In the end it will be up to them to decide if hooking white sharks for science is a reality television show they want to follow or not.

    As for the magnificent shark that tonight either lies dead at the bottom of the ocean or continues to live with 60% of “the largest hook ever made” still embedded in its throat, the answer to that basic question is self evident.

    We would like to officially demand that Fischer Productions and Dr. Michael Domeier take the time, about as much as they have spent promoting their reality television production, to provide “proof of life” for this shark and long term “independent monitoring” of the animal.

    It is the least they could do, and it is the right thing to do.

    Patric Douglas CEO

  2. Indeed, you raise some interesting points. How would they provide proof of life, I wonder, except by hooking and raising every shark they find, to see if it is the one you mention?

    As this documentary is in fact a long way from the regular subject matter of this blog, I did not comment on many of the related issues, so I thank you for posting these. I doubt that Dr. Domeier and Fischer Productions read this blog, however.

  3. By the way, I note a post on your blog which seems to cite with approval another shark tagging project, this time in Scotland. Is the key problem then the mix of reality TV in with the other project? I ask purely from a position of ignorance.

  4. “I wonder, except by hooking and raising every shark they find, to see if it is the one you mention?”

    The great white shark with 60% of the worlds largest circle hook still embedded in its throat has a satellite package drilled into its dorsal fin. Every time the shark breaks the surface its exact position is known.

    It should be an easy proposition to find that shark…if it lives and monitor it for the next year.

    As for hooking sharks in Scotland.

    Those are not breeding aged 14-17 foot white sharks. The western pacific population of great whites are increasingly rare, the loss of just one animal would be devastating.

    The sharks in Scotland are 2-5 feet long.The tags they use are put on with small lance poles, not taken from the water and drilled into dorsal fins.

    I appreciate your questions, within the shark community this remains a white hot issue.

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