Capt. Paul Watson Pens Questionable HuffPo Story on Rising Number of Shark Attacks; Marine Biologist David Shiffman Bites Back
by Owen James Burke
“Shark attacks are on the rise and the reason for this is entirely the fault of humanity.” — Captain Paul Watson. …huh? Photo: Shutterstock via The Huffington Post
“Kudos to Sea Shepherd, possibly the only conservation organization on Earth who can manage to offend both Jews and Muslims (separately, not even with the same statement) in a short article about sharks that also contains an enormous amount of misinformation about shark behavior,” writes Marine Biologist Dr. David Shiffman, fuming in response to a recent Huffington Post article written by the the king of high-sea monkey wrench business himself, Captain Paul Watson.
Photo: Paul Watson’s twitter page
Yes, Captain Watson’s antics may have entered him into an entirely new arena of absurdity, but that sanctimonious fervor that is the very potion that has enabled him to bring issues of marine conservation to the tables of mainstream media outlets around the world throughout the better part of the past four decades. The 9,000 Facebook “likes” and “shares” attached to the article, however, might speak volumes more, specifically for The Huffington Post and its readers, who are collectively swallowing, regurgitating and propagating this eco-maniacal ranting and myth mongering they could just as soon defeat.
Thankfully, Shiffman is keeping an eye on things for the sake of science and the seas:
No, shark attacks are not really increasing, despite many more people visiting the beach they’ve held remarkably steady at 5-10 ish fatal ones per year for decades. Slight fluctuations year to year are not a trend. Every year I see a “shark attacks are increasing this year” and a “shark attacks are decreasing this year” article.
But apart from the simple fact that the oceans need protection, Captain Watson has one thing right without question:
“The ocean is no place for the ignorant, the arrogant and the craven.”
Read more about Shiffman’s quest to end shark myth mongering in a Scuttlefish feature, see Captain Watson’s article (along with a litany of scathing comments) on The Huffington Post and Dr. Shiffman’s full retort here. — OJB