"Island of the Great White Shark "
With Filmmaker Richard Theiss
Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009
6-8 p.m., $8 per ticket
The great white shark, one of the world's most amazing predators, is facing unprecedented threats to its survival. Join filmmaker Richard Theiss for a special screening and discussion of his award-winning documentary, "Island of the Great White Shark," from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. The event is $8 per person.
In his film, Theiss takes viewers 200 miles south of San Diego to Isla Guadalupe, one of nature's dwindling sanctuaries for the great white shark. In a race against time, marine researchers and eco-tourists have forged a unique alliance to study and protect these animals from potential slaughter. Through dramatic underwater close-ups and expert interviews, the 43-minute documentary captures the true nature of these magnificent predators and chronicles the efforts of conservationists and scientists working to understand and protect the sharks before it is too late.
Worldwide, more than 100 million sharks are killed each year, either as accidental bycatch or as a source of fins for the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup. In contrast to their undeserved reputation as malevolent man-eaters, these animals serve a critical role in the health of ocean ecosystems.
Theiss, whose work has been utilized by National Geographic, PBS and Animal Planet, was inspired to create his documentary following a diving trip to Isla Guadalupe nearly five years ago. He recognized an important story in the successful relationship between scientists and eco-tourism operators as well as the need to present the majestic great white shark in a more accurate context.
"I wanted to enlighten audiences as to the importance of these powerful apex predators and the perilous fate that they, and all sharks in general, are now facing," Theiss said. "Like so many environmental issues today, we need to act now; to delay any further would be tragic."
"Island of the Great White Shark" DVDs will be available for purchase in the aquarium bookshop until 6:30 p.m. and can be signed by the filmmaker.
Location: Birch Aquarium at Scripps, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla