By Lori Bosworth
Many of us have perceptions of the dangerous predator of the sea, the Great White Shark, that are derived from the media, most notably Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, Jaws. Yet, the Great White Shark may not be as horrific as portrayed in that film. Great White Shark, produced by Yes/No Productions and Liquid Pictures 3D and opening at Ontario Science Centre‘s Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX ® Theatre on Friday, October 11, 2013, sets out to overturn our prejudices about this sea creature facing extinction.
The documentary opens with an overview of the most popular coastal surface waters where Great White Sharks aggregate including California, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico’s island of Guadalupe. We learn that shark attacks are much less frequent than is popularly thought. You have less of a chance of dying from a shark attack than you would from falling out of bed.
Divers in cages were shown observing the sharks, yet the most unsettling moment was watching the three freedivers (with no oxygen masks!) swimming within feet of Great White Sharks, who approached, but did not attack the men. Free diver Francois Leduc, who was one of the freedivers in the documentary, spoke after the film and provided insight into the Great White Shark’s mindset. “A shark knows when you have established eye contact with it and will be more cautious with its approach if it knows that you saw it.” Leduc noted, however, that the three divers dived in a “triangle formation” to be able to watch each other’s blind spots. With respect to the Great White Shark’s reputation of ruling the seas, Leduc noted that he had observed an older female porpoise bite the tail of a Great White Shark that had got too close to a school of porpoises.
We also learned not to eat shark fin soup, a delicacy in Chinese culture. Sharks absorb mercury and other ocean toxins, many of which are from man-made pollutants that they cannot excrete. Although sharks can live up to 50 years with these toxins in their bodies, eating shark fins or shark meat is a highly toxic meal for humans. Further, the practice of removing sharks’ fins and returning them to the ocean to die is undeniably cruel.
See the pearly whites on this guy below? He doesn’t have to worry if his dental hygiene is lacking: when sharks’ teeth fall out, new ones immediately push through. Great White Sharks each have approximately 3,000 teeth at any given time and can go through 20,000 teeth in their lifetimes.
The documentary offers an extreme close-up view of this predator of the sea and might even make you jump out of your seat when about midway through the film, the Great White Shark is filmed leaping into the air with force and surreptitiousness.
Great White Shark opens at the Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX ® Theatre, Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road on Friday, October 11, 2013. The film is 40 minutes. Tickets are Adults (18-64) $13, Youth (13-17)/Student (with ID)/Seniors (65+)/Child (3-12) $9 and Children 2 and under Free.