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  • Charlie Morris

The Last Shark screens in Canada!

Jenna Hardy coordinated all 4 screenings in Canada in early 2024. Quite an accomplishment!

Posted below in her own words is what drew her to this project and what inspired her to be involved with sharks and shark research.

"I was lucky enough to get to go to South Africa and worked right in Gansbaai with the Shark and Marine Research Institute. I fell in love with Gansbaai and the surrounding area and I had an amazing time working on the boat, taking photos, and getting to see the wildlife and of course the sharks. I was expecting to have no problem seeing great whites, on the first day out we saw a juvenile white shark! 

What shocked me after, was Megan telling me how lucky I was - as the volunteer who had worked there an entire year and left just before I arrived, never saw a white shark. I was like "excuse me what??" Now I knew there was an ongoing decline of the population but I did not realize the severity of it until I got there. I was so lucky I got to see three different white sharks while I was there, all juvenile’s though. 

I still enjoyed studying the bronze whaler sharks that have started to become the main attraction on these tour boats and I even named one AND got her tattooed on my arm, called her Hasty Matilda! While there we got to have a lesson about shark behavior from Dr. Andreotti and this is how I got connected with Dr. Hammerschlag.

On my arrival back to Canada is when I learned about The Last Shark film and with no hesitation I messaged the Instagram page and emailed. I think I just thought "wow this would be cool to help with and possibly bring some screenings over to Canada to spread international awareness". 

Like I told the news reporter here in Kamloops, it was not an issue that necessarily affected us locally in Kamloops or even Canada but it is an issue that will affect us in the long run. The biggest issues our oceans, marine life, and honestly any conservation related issue, is believing that someone else is working on it/doing something about it. Not only did the screenings here send a message of support back to South Africa and the individuals working hard to get these nets transitioned into shark safe barriers or removed, it also brought attention to other people who are possibly totally unaware that white sharks are even in decline. 

At the screenings I also talked about how I was literally terrified of sharks growing up and how after seeing the movie "Shark Water" by Rob Stewart, I started to shift my thoughts on sharks simply by doing my own research. And I wanted to share this with others who may be terrified of sharks simply due to stereotypical Hollywood betrayals, things like Shark Week (on the Discovery Channel), and simply a lack of information. 

Misconceptions and misinformation is what drives fear. Education and respect is what maintains balance. What we often forget is that we are guests in the ocean, and it is our job as caretakers of this planet to respect all forms of life, understanding that each creature plays a vital and necessary role."

On behalf of The Last Shark, huge kudos to Jenna for the hard work of putting these screenings together and for putting great white sharks (and the dangers of shark nets) on the minds of college students in Canada.

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