A life with sharks

From Andy Dehart, Director of Biological Programs in Washington, DC
If you are a shark fan like me, you probably already know that Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK is just around the corner! Now that I have the great privilege of having two wonderfully rewarding jobs with the National Aquarium and the Discovery Channel, Shark Week is becoming a year round affair for me. Andy Shark after Dark small

I have worked for the National Aquarium in numerous capacities – from selling tickets in admissions to my current role at our newly renovated DC venue – for nearly 17 years.  Sharks have always been my passion.  For me it started when I was only five years old when I got to see a 6 foot long Caribbean reef shark while snorkeling with my father in the Florida Keys.  Pardon the pun, but I was hooked and have followed the dream of working with sharks ever since.
Throughout  my career I have dabbled in media and when the unfortunate and extremely rare cases of mistaken identity rolled around and a bather or surfer was attacked by a shark, I have been called upon by the media to answer questions about shark attacks.  In 2003 I got the chance to work on my first Shark Week show, Sharks Under Glass, about sharks in public aquariums. Last year I was approached by Discovery Channel to sign on as their Shark Advisor, which meant reviewing show and online content, contributing to online content and doing television and print interviews.

For me the Discovery role is a way for me to help get the word out that sharks need our help to survive.  I believe that the generation that has grown up watching Shark Week over the past 22 years is more informed and cares more about sharks than the generation raised on Jaws.  Ultimately many people will always have an innate fear of sharks, even though there are less than 100 attacks worldwide every year with roughly five per year being fatal.  The reality, however,  is that sharks have more of a reason to fear humans, then we do to fear them.  

I want everyone to love sharks like I do, or at least respect them enough to know that they are not mindless eating machines after human prey.  Sharks are critical to the health of the world’s oceans.  Some species have decreased by nearly 90% in just the last 20 years.  We have to act now to save them.  Stay tuned to this blog as I hope to share some of the magical moments I have had with sharks, spread conservation messages, and also share some of the stories of our upcoming show Shark After Dark.

Andy will be featured in two Shark Week shows this year: Day of the Shark 2, premiering Monday, August 3 at 10PM and Shark After Dark, premiering Thursday, August 6 at 9PM.  In addition to being featured in these shows, Andy will also be blogging live throughout the week.  For a full schedule of programs and more about the blogging, visit discovery.com/sharkweek.



6 Responses to “A life with sharks”

  1. 1 Barbie Hall July 2, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I too have a passion for sharks! SHARK WEEK is my favorite time of year. Its like a holiday week at our house. I would LOVE to have a career working in the field you are in. Looking forward to more of your blog. =)

    • 2 Tas Koul July 17, 2009 at 5:54 am

      I love sharks to so i have been doing this survey do you think sharks kill people on purpose? Just tell me you you think Barbie. I have the whole colletion of shark week i can watch it over and over again bye nice chating with you.

  2. 3 Hannah July 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    This is really interesting! I can’t wait to watch Shark Week! I have a passion for sharks, too adn I believe that humans have to be aware of the dangers of being in shark territory and accept responsibility for our actions. While sharks are not harmless, they are innocent. And I think that they’re scared of us and that’s on reason why they attack. Have a good day!

  3. 4 Sam July 5, 2009 at 8:31 am

    This is very interesting!! I have loved sharks all my life and I don’t see why people think in such a horrible Man-eating way about them. Even If they don’t have a passion for them, they should still respect them. I can’t wait to see you on Shark Week!! :]

  4. 5 Heather July 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Sharks are about the only thing I love as much as books! I also try to educate people about the true nature of sharks. I think that Shark Week is awesome, although I prefer the shows about sharks in their natural habitat rather than the shark attack shows or shows where scientists take them out of the water. I find that very upsetting. I was lucky enough to get a shark tour of the national aquarium for my birthday this past December — it was amazing. Thank you for all you do for sharks!

  5. 6 Jenna July 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Is the aquarium doing anything special for Shark Week? It would be great to plan a visit around any activities or events.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


%d bloggers like this: