How Watching JAWS Made Me Feel About Sharks

Letter from Shark Stewards Chair, Gautam Barua

Dear Shark Lover,

The first summer blockbuster film Jaws entered sharks into our collective consciousness and sparked both fear of and fascination for sharks.

Including mine.

I vividly recall my own encounter with “Jaws” at the age of 3, an experience that ignited a lifelong passion for these incredible creatures. Instead of being terrified of sharks, I became horrified by the elimination of shark populations caused by overfishing sharks and the shark fin tradeSince then, my journey has intersected with numerous shark enthusiasts and organizations, but none have shone as brightly as Shark Stewards and its visionary leader, David McGuire.

This year Shark Stewards was ranked among the top two most effective shark conservation groups by the charity evaluator Impactful Ninja!

From pioneering the world’s first shark fin bans to engaging with communities ranging from Bay Area school children to scientists in Mexico and Indonesia, Shark Stewards has carved a path few can match. As we stand on the brink of 2024, our organization is poised for another year of groundbreaking initiatives to safeguard our marine ecosystems.

Key campaigns on the horizon include:

  • Completion of a new documentary on Hawaiian sharks and protection to be used in advocacy;
  • Creating a protected Hammerhead Highway in the Sea of Cortez to protect endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks;
  • Achieving complete protection for vanishing oceanic whitetip sharks;
  • Meeting the UN 30% x 2030 goals in the USA by creating 2 new National Marine Sanctuaries;
  • Building on our work to share the ocean world with underserved youth.

But, as you can imagine, these endeavors require funding. This is where you come in. Your support is integral to our success, and rest assured, every dollar you contribute will be a wise investment. Even after 18 years, Shark Stewards maintains its effective entrepreneurial spirit, directing every donation towards vital programs and campaigns.

More Endangered Than Dangerous

The plight of sharks and our oceans is more critical now than ever before. In many ways, the stereotypes and fear generated by JAWS endures and impacts shark’s survival. With 71% of all sharks and rays erased from the oceans, rather than be afraid of sharks, we should be more afraid for them. Even the film’s creator, Steven Spielberg, has expressed regret for the negative perceptions the movie generated.

As we approach the year’s end, your tax-deductible donation to Shark Stewards will play a pivotal role in making a tangible difference in 2024. Please share our work and join us in preserving the wonders of our wild sharks and healthy oceans for future generations.

Together, let’s make waves for shark conservation!

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Gautam Barua, Chair and Shark Stewards Supporter