Legendary director Steven Spielberg has come out and said ‘he regrets’ the bad press he gave sharks in his movie Jaws (1975).
Since the film’s release, an absolute plethora of shark films have come out, all with the premise that they’re human flesh-hungry killing machines.
An honourable mention goes to Sharknado for possibly giving multiple people the irrational fear of a shark tornado storming through their city. Quite possibly the worst of them all is the Headed Shark Attack franchise.
What I’m trying to say is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws has caused the most chaotic butterfly effect of all time. From one scary shark movie to the absolute carnage that low-budget shark fear factor movies caused.
According to a 2021 study, shark and ray populations declined a huge 71 per cent from 1970 to 2018 largely due to overfishing.
Script writer for Jaws, Pete Benchley, who also wrote the book which the film is based on — was terrible PR for the cold blooded critters.
And it turns out Spielberg himself is aware of the consequences. Appearing on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs podcast, he revealed he regretted how Jaws tangibly impacted the animals’ population.
“That’s one of the things I still fear. Not to get eaten by a shark, but that sharks are somehow mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sport fishermen that happened after 1975,” he said.
“Which I truly and to this day regret, the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film. I really, truly regret that.”
Benchley actually wrote a story for The Guardian back in 2000 called “Without malice: In defence of the shark”. He wrote the piece after a spate of Aussies were sadly killed by sharks.
“Australia has had a run of extremely bad luck recently: three human beings have been killed by great white sharks,” he said.
“But it is important for us to realise that these are freak occurrences that by no means signal a sudden onslaught by sharks on swimmers and surfers.”
It’s important to consider that fish are friends, not food, next time you come face to face with a shark. They might just be thinking the same thing!