SHARKFLUENCERS


  SHARKWEEK 2019 Edition: You've seen their social media pages, maybe you've even joined them on a dive adventure or beach clean up? Now, get inspired and enjoy our recent interviews with admirable shark folk from around the ‘gram and give them a follow to join in on their journeys!


                                           For more shark-filled interviews check out our SHARK BLOG



@YESACCASEY- Meet Casey. The great ocean 'camera holder', snorkeler and fellow  thalassophile!

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: One of my favorites is the nurse shark. They're often a great introduction to sharks as they're very docile and timid and frequent a lot of shallow dive sites.

Q: When did you fall in love with sharks?

A: The ocean has always been a part of my life, including sharks, and it never ceases to amaze me how different the ocean can be every time you go in it. You never know what you'll see and it's a different experience for me every single time.

Q: What take away message about sharks do you want people to have? 

A: Sharks play an incredibly important part in our ecosystem and help keep oceans healthy and balanced by being at the top of the food chain.


@ELLASAVESTHEOCEAN- Just your super-cool (9 year-old) neighborhood shark conservationist! Ella is passionate about sharks and saving the oceans from the impacts of plastic pollution. #YOUTHRUNTHEWORLD

Q: Do you have a shark hero? Who do you look up to the most and why?

A: My first shark hero was Rob Stewart, he will always be my hero. I also look up to Regi Domingo of  Nakawe Project, Filipe DeAndrade from Nat Geo, and Madison Stewart. All three are really strong voices for sharks, and all three don't just talk about saving sharks- they're out there everyday making a real difference, and showing how important sharks are to the health of the ocean. One of my really important friends and mentors is Jim Abernathy. He has been showing people for decades that the real nature of sharks is so different than what media wants us to believe.  I am trying to learn as much as I can from him. If I could ever be as experienced around sharks as him, I would be so grateful!

Q: What major ocean conservation issue do you think is most critical for people to take action on now? What actions are you taking and where can people go to join in and help? 

A: I think looking at what we are eating and the effect it has on the planet is the most important issue. Plastic pollution is a really important issue as well because it is something we all can easily become involved in correcting. The trash in the ocean is mostly plastic, sadly, a lot of that plastic comes from fishing gear and nets. (Sharks are also victims of bycatch.) The changes we all can make are so small to us, but the impact to the planet is so huge. 

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: My favourite species of shark is the whale shark. I love it so much because it is the biggest shark in the ocean; it is beautiful and graceful, and looks like something from your dreams.

Q: What are your shark week plans?

A: My shark week plans are to watch as much as I can about sharks! I will probably watch with my family, and chances are I will FaceTime with my best shark buddies Zoe and Cash! (@sharksareourfriends and @theconservationkid) I am really hopeful that sharks are shown in a way that brings awareness to how serious their decline in populations is, and what that means for us as humans.

Q: What take away message(s) do you want your viewers to have?

A: I just want people to fall in love with sharks as much as I have. I want people to see sharks for what they are- a beautiful, apex predator that has been around since before dinosaurs. I want people to realize that they are worth fighting for.


@BIMINISHARKGIRL- Our favorite pitbull mom/author/marine biologist and founder of the amazing organization Sharks4Kids @Sharkeducation 

Q: Do you think the negative stigma around sharks is getting any better thanks to social media?

A: We still have a lot of work to do, but more people are sharing their shark diving, research and conservation online which is great. It allows people to see these amazing animals from different perspectives, all of which are positive. Social media is powerful and it's an incredible tool for education. This is one way people can also promote sharks in a positive light; share your dive, your research, your volunteer work..etc. Social media can help us all give sharks a voice. 

Q: When did you fall in love with sharks?

A: I saw my first shark when I was 8 years old while snorkeling in Florida. It was a nurse shark and I was fascinated. I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist by the time I was 5 and this encounter just increased my curiosity about and love for the ocean. 

Q: What advice would you tell people who are looking to take action to save sharks? What steps or things should they do?

A: Do your research. Learn the facts and then find out what is happening local and globally. There are so many options for getting involved, but you want to make sure your efforts are actually making an impact. Things I love are....

1. Volunteer with an organization: this could be science, education or conservation depending on your skill set and area of interest 

2. Visit a school or library and do a presentation about sharks or read a shark book. Education is so important and if we give kids facts they will grow up with a better understanding and appreciation of sharks and the oceans.

3. Make sustainable seafood choices, if you eat seafood. Never be afraid to ask what something is, how it was caught, where it was caught and if there is by-catch. Being an informed consumer is our responsibility and an action that can make a big difference. 

Q: What major ocean conservation issue do you think is most critical for people to take action on now? What actions are you taking and where can people go to join in and help? 

A: I think it is really important for people to know that there are more threats than just finning. Sharks are targeted in both commercial and recreational fisheries for more than just their fins. Shark products can be found in make up, lotion, dog treats or as seafood mislabeled. Being an informed consumer is really important. 

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: Yes, the Great Hammerhead is my favorite animal on the planet. Living in Bimini, The Bahamas, we get to spend a lot of time diving with these incredible sharks. They are absolutely mesmerizing to see underwater. Sadly, they are an endangered species, so research and conservation efforts are critical for their survival.


@SALTWATERLIFEUK - Meet Dr. Lauren Smith: Diver, Spaniel addict, Shark scientist, and, of course, a rad brand ambassador for us! (Oh hey, Lauren!)

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: With over 500 species of shark it’s difficult to pick a favourite! However, I think I would have to pick the Blue Shark, Prionace glauca. During an assignment for university I began learning about the blue shark, their movement patterns and the threats they face, they are one of the most heavily fished sharks in the world. I have dived with blue sharks on a few occasions in different locations around the globe. They are absolutely stunning, inquisitive sharks and so much fun to dive with! 

Q: Do you have a shark hero? Who do you look up to the most and why?

A: Eugenie Clark who was known as the ‘shark lady’ was an absolute legend, she was renown for her for her research on shark behaviour but was also a pioneer in the field of scuba diving for research purposes. I am also a huge fan of Sylvia Earle, I read one of her books when I was about 13 and became determined to become a marine biologist from that moment. 

Q: What advice would you tell people who are looking to take action to save sharks? What steps or things should they do?

A: It all depends on how you want to get involved. Generally speaking; Research research and more research! Know your subject as much as is feasibly possible. Then you can have a clear idea about the issues surrounding shark conservation. It’s also a great idea to contact your local (regional/national) shark research and conservation organisation to find out more about what they are working on and how you can get involved. There are plenty things that people can do from hands on activities to educational outreach and online initiatives.

Q: Do you think the negative stigma around sharks is getting any better thanks to social media?

A: I would certainly like to think so, social media is a powerful tool to showcase sharks in their true light. However unfortunately plenty of shark related information still comes with sensationalised and over dramatised headlines!

Q: When did you fall in love with sharks?

A: I was born in the Midlands which is as landlocked as you can get, luckily it doesn’t take long to reach the coast from anywhere in the U.K. really and I was lucky enough to be allowed to go rock-pooling for hours and hours when my parents took me on holidays to Wales as a kid and my fascination grew from there. My focus on sharks really started to happen when I was doing my undergrad degree at Plymouth University and I first learned about things like shark finning.

Q: What advice would you give people looking to dive with sharks? 

A: Look for companies that have a clear pro shark plan in place. Do they collaborate with researchers to learn more about the sharks they are diving with? Do they have a strong conservation message and are committed to informing their divers about the sharks? What is their setup like, how do they attract the sharks in? 


@ETERNICOFFICIAL- Jam out about sharks with passionate conservationist and Bahamian DJ, Ethan. 

Q: When did you fall in love with sharks?

A: I am from The Bahamas so the ocean has always been a big part of my life. My country is a shark sanctuary. We do what we can to protect sharks not only for their beauty but for their importance to the ocean and the ocean’s importance to The Bahamas. 

Q: What advice would you tell people who are looking to take action to save sharks? What steps or things should they do?

A: If you are looking to spread knowledge about sharks for the purpose of people becoming aware of their importance and the damage that is being done to the shark population worldwide just know all you can do is present people with the information. You cannot force someone to change their lifestyle or mindset, they must make that decision themselves. It is difficult to understand why some people just don’t care but that is the reality. Share your knowledge and move on. The more people that hear your voice the better.

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: The Oceanic Whitetip. Their strong presence, intelligence and curiosity makes them my favorite.

Q: Any shark myth that you want to dispel for people?

A: Sharks are very picky creatures they would never willingly hunt humans. They know that we are just not good for their diet.

Q: What major ocean conservation issue do you think is most critical for people to take action on now? 

A: Major issues tend to overwhelm the average person so I believe a better approach is to discuss small changes. I have been making small changes to my lifestyle over the last few years. Little things such as saying no to straws or plastic bags/bottles, buying products packaged in biodegradable materials and using bamboo products(I always have my [reusable] straw and cutlery on me)

I am currently in the process of planning a world tour where I will travel the world DJing and diving with the purpose of bringing conservation efforts into the nightlife. It is called #PlasticFreeNightlife and is projected to begin near the end of 2020. More information on this project including how people can get involved will be out later this year.


@GIRLMEETSSHARK- If you haven’t yet, you must e-meet passionate conservationist and wildlife biologist, Erin! She has an inspiring account full of amazing photography and FINtastic shark facts. #PROTECTWHATYOULOVE

Q: Do you have a shark hero? Who do you look up to most and why?

A: This is a difficult question because there are so many incredibly talented people bringing awareness to the plight of sharks. One of my top shark and ocean heroes is definitely Sylvia Earle. She's an incredible advocate for the ocean (including sharks), and also a pioneering woman of science. Sylvia's spirit of adventure, her courage, and her continued dedication to the protecting our oceans is truly inspiring! 

Q: Do you any other message(s) for people?

A: We are at a tipping point ecologically. Many species of sharks and other animal species are facing the very real possibility of extinction. Extinction is forever. We must act to protect this incredibly diverse planet. For ourselves and for sharks, because we are all in this together. "Protect what you love". 

Q: What advice would you tell people who are looking to take action to save sharks? What steps or things should they do?

A: Social media is one easy way that you can start to effect change. Share information, help educate others, spread the word about sharks and the need to protect them. Another powerful way each of us can take action is how we spend our money. We have a very strong voice as consumers. Donate money to organizations and that are working to protect and save sharks and the oceans. Educate yourself on what common beauty and household products contain shark oil, and avoid buying them. Avoid buying seafood from non-sustainable fisheries. Buy less stuff! Our oceans are filling up with trash. Marine debris entanglement is another hazard to sharks and all marine life. Participate in beach cleanups! We can all do things to make a difference and there's nothing wrong with starting small. Small change is change. 


@SHARKADDICTS2- Co-Founder and videographer of Shark Addicts, odds are if you like sharks- you’ve definitely seen Mickey’s shark diving adventures on the ‘gram! 

Q: Do you have a shark hero? Who do you look up to the most and why?

A: I’ve got a couple shark hero’s, Randy Jordan for one. I would pay to shark dive on his boat every weekend for about two years and then he finally started teaching me, and Cameron @sharkaddicts, how to handle the sharks, feed them, remove hooks etc. so if it wasn’t for Randy giving us the chance to work on his boat I don’t know where I’d be. Also, Cristina Zenato and her work with the reef sharks in the Bahamas, she’s always an inspiration. 

Q: When did you fall in love with sharks? A: I’ve been obsessed with sharks since I was little, my mom recorded shark week on VHS for me every year when I was younger. She’s got home videos of me with shark toys in the bath tub, but I really didn’t get into shark diving until 2012 when I got scuba certified and started diving regularly. After seeing a shark all I wanted to do was shark dive and that’s what I did. 

Q: What major ocean conservation issue do you think is most critical for people to take action on now? What actions are you taking and where can people go to join in and help? 

A: We are currently working with Shark Allies and Fin Alliance to pass a bill in Florida banning the trade of shark fins in Florida. It would make Florida the 13th state to ban the sale or trade of fins. You can sign the petition on Shark Allies website where they also have more information about the bill and when it’s being presented to the floor.


@COVASCOTT- Yogi, shark diving badass, and spectacular photographer - Cova Scott (Cassandra) is driven to conserve wildlife.

Q: Do you think the negative stigma around sharks is getting any better thanks to social media?

A: Absolutely. I’ve talked to a few schools and the future looks bright with this new generation of shark lovers. The ecotourism side is also helping by showing the “Jaws generation” first hand how these sharks have been so misunderstood. Social media has a huge influence! People who have never spent much time in the ocean can look up almost any shark encounter and see their true behavior. 

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: My favorite species around here [Florida] is definitely the Bull shark. They get such a bad reputation and are so misunderstood. They are extremely intelligent and can actually be social creatures. One of my favorites that I would LOVE to see is the Thresher- no other shark like it.

Q: What ocean conservation issue do you think is most critical for people to take action on now? Where can people go to help? 

A: The most important thing to realize is everyone has an impact and everyone can make a difference. I believe our biggest issues are climate change and our plastic pollution. As consumers can demand change by what products we buy; less plastic, sustainably sources palm oil (its in almost everything), organic (to stop unwanted chemicals flowing into the ocean), the energy we use. We can demand for cleaner energy, we have the technology at our fingertips, we just need to be the voice for change.

Become aware of not just global issues but your local community issues. If we all start by focusing on our own communities, bringing awareness to what needs to be fixed and start the change from there, it’s not as overwhelming and we might see a lot more change happening globally.

Q: What advice would you tell people who are looking to take action to save sharks? 

A@sharkallies is trying to pass a bill that would end the shark fin trade here in Florida. Yes it’s still legal here and most people don’t understand that this is still going on in our backyard.  Even if you don’t live in Florida you can still help us out; the bigger the voice the better. If we can pass this bill, that will help give us a big push to ban the shark fin trade on a national level which @oceana is trying to do currently!


@COLIN.CRAWFORD.PHOTO- Videographer, taco lover, and shark expedition guide- Colin is making big waves with his shark photography. 

Q: What do you think the most important thing about sharks is that people need to know?

A: Humans are not on the menu... Period. We just aren't. As long as we are conservative with our interactions, there is basically zero risk when diving with sharks.

Q: When/how did you fall in love with sharks?

A: I came up diving in NC and we have a healthy population of Sand Tiger sharks around our wrecks. Seeing them in big numbers as a young diver really got me excited to see more in different ways, which led me to the Bahamas and Florida. 

Q: What advice would you give people looking to dive with sharks? What should they look out for?

A: This is a big one for me. As an expedition guide, I would advise people to look for operations that are organized. In the case of shark diving, often, more rules are better. When you look into an organization and the dive plan seems chaotic, there is a greater risk for incident. Safety has to be my number 1 priority.

Q: Do you have a favorite species of shark? Why is this species your favorite?

A: Great Hammerheads! I love how angular and fast they are. So photogenic! It's incredible to me that these creatures evolved this way and they are the perfect apex predators.