Demystifying The Relationship Between Humans and Sharks

Whale Shark
Environmental Reporter, Washington Post
Juliet Eilperin is an environmental reporter with the Washington Post
SARASOTA (2012-2-20) -

When we hear the word "shark," the first image that comes to many people's minds is the movie "Jaws." Juliet Eilperin is trying to wash that image away. She's the author of a new book about how sharks play an important role in the marine system - and how they're being wiped off the map. Eilperin will speak Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory.

Eilperin writes about seafood in demand and vital marine life under threat. Author of “Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks,” Eilperin will speak about the evolving relationship between humans these nuanced ocean predators.

“Obsessing over sharks is not new,” writes Eilperin. “Phoenician pottery dating back to 3000 B.C. displays images of sharks, while a vase from 725 B.C., discovered at Ischia, Italy, shows a fish resembling a shark attacking a man.”

She says Aristotle wrote about sharks in ancient Greece, and some Pacific cultures still practice elaborate rituals to commune with shark deities. Many Western cultures associate sharks with horror tales like “Jaws” — a view Eilperin works to temper by revealing the inner lives of sharks and the latest research about them.

Eilperin has cage-dived with great whites, paddled with Papau New Guinea islanders who try to summon sharks through a tradition called “shark calling” and even swam alongside whale sharks — gentle filter feeders the size of a bus — during a research expedition with scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory.

Location: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Immersion Cinema, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida, 34236.

Ticket Price: $12 (per ticket per lecture) for Mote Members. $15 (per ticket per lecture) for non-Members. Students,teachers and volunteers without membership can purchase tickets at the Member rate with a discount code by contacting or calling 941-388-4441, ext. 264.

Ticket sales close at 3 p.m. on the day of the lecture or when tickets sell out.

Seating: Doors open at 7 p.m. Ticket holders will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ticket Sales: Tickets must be purchased in advance. A limited number of tickets might be available at the door on lecture nights.

Questions: Please call 941-388-4441, ext. 691, or e-mail

To hear the full, uncut interview with Eilperin, click on the "Listen to Full Audio" icon below.

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