This horrifying encounter with a great white shark is JAWS come to life, and may have documentary filmmakers rethinking baiting sharks.
We all love Discovery’s Shark Week, but that doesn’t make some of the more dangerous glimpses- like this one with an ornery great white – any less terrifying.
“Andy… Andy!” one Discovery crew member shouts to cameraman Andy Casagrande. There are only two people aboard the tiny dingy Andy is on. And he and his colleague are truly experiencing JAWS come to life.
“Holy f***!” yells one crew member from the main vessel. A great white shark is attacking Casagrande’s tiny boat, attempting to pull it into the depths by its support cord. The crew on both boats, expectedly, panics. If one of these filmmakers falls into the ocean off the New Zealand coast – they’re shark bait. Dead. Eaten alive.
“Under the boat, rushing under the boat,” says the other gent onboard. It’s about this time that the sharks decide to even the playing field – and another great white begins ramming their tiny boat.
“I don’t think this is such a brilliant f****** idea you know,” a voice cries out into the commotion. “I don’t think we can have a boat in there – I really don’t!”
Sincerely, you have to watch this one for yourself:
Shark experts Jeff Kurr and Andy Casagrande are in a small boat surrounded by giant great whites in this heart-pounding scene from Lair of the Mega Shark.Discovery
In case the peril isn’t clear enough, this dingy is inflatable. It’s also smaller than the great white shark aggressively attacking it, as Casagrande notes to the crew.
If the support rope severs – which the shark repeatedly attacks – these filmmakers become fish bait. Which is precisely what got them in trouble in the first place.
Intense ‘JAWS’-Like Encounter Leads to New Zealand Activism
In a twist of fate, ABC News would report (after this incident went viral) that anti-cage-diving activists are citing this footage directly in nationwide arguments against bating and cage diving with sharks.
The encounter was filmed for part of Discovery’s Lair of the Megashark, in which bait was used to lure sharks in for filming. It is a common practice, but one that does not take into account the intelligence of sharks.
Like bears and other predators, habituating a wild animal to food holds dire consequences. Just ask NZ fisherman Richard Squires.
“We’ve been attacked twice,” Squires told New Zealand Herald. “A shark came up and bit a buoy on the stern of the vessel, it came charging out of the water with its mouth open.”
Squires, like many marine biologists, believes that New Zealand sharks are beginning to readily associate human vessels with food. More specifically, these sharks are learning that the sight of a boat means bait, which means feeding. And if they don’t get it – they’re not going to suggest politely.
“When you start bringing the sharks in close to your boat for the thrill-seekers, like any animal, their behavior becomes modified,” replies New Zealand Parliament members.