Shark Week Interview: Jim Abernathy
〰️ Jim Abernathy 〰️
@jim_abernethy Award winning photographer, filmmaker, author, & conservationist, founder of @wildlifevoiceinc , shark enthusiast.
1. What led to your passion for sharks?
I grew up with sharks all around me and have been diving for 54 years now. In palm beach FL. we had Sand tigers and scalloped hammerheads that were gone within 15 years. I learnt in the 80s that sharks were being wiped out faster than any other animal. People are killing more sharks than any other animal on the planet. I knew sharks to be different than what was portrayed in movies and news because they were all around me. I knew that this was my calling. So I bought a live aboard boat and started offering the worlds first cageless large predatory shark dives.
2. What was your most memorable shark encounter?
I live at sea 25 days a month every single month of the year and every single day at tiger beach the sharks recognize me so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Recently, Emma the tiger shark, without being fed, did figure 8’s with us for over two hours getting her head rubbed. I removed as many as 4 hooks from 91 different species of shark by using affection. I want people to connect with sharks in a way that isn’t possible in any other way.
3. What is one common misconception about sharks that you personally have seen otherwise?
That sharks are mindless man eating predators when in fact they are not. What other predator can you spend day after day, around the world, that close to without having to fear for your life?
4. Why do you think it is important to support shark research and conservation?
“The heart of our planet is our ocean. Sharks maintain the balance of the system we rely on for everything” you forgot a question! What is the best way to save sharks? Support the US shark elimination act/ban and the leading cause of all of these problems (habitat loss, animal exploitation, global warming) can be solved with one life style change....go vegan!