Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2016 premieres on June 26 with the “Return of Monster Mako,” a follow-up research on Mako sharks, which were featured on last year’s opening night episodes. This year marks the 29th season of the Discovery Channel’s summer television show where experts aim to study Mako sharks near the Southern California coast.
Mako sharks reach more than 453 kilograms or 1,000 pounds. The shark species debuted last year in Shark Week’s “Monster Mako” episode. The episode alone helped bring in 3.265 million viewers, among the show’s highest ratings.
The shark experts collaborated with the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Greg Stuntz, the HRI Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health and Director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, says this year’s Shark Week could help provide a glimpse into Mako sharks’ behaviors.
Unlike in past episodes, this year’s expedition involves the use of “Shark Eye” technology. This will document never-before-seen footage activities of the sharks.
Attaching tags on these sharks can locate where Mako sharks give birth as well as their feeding grounds. We will understand the sharks’ migration patterns, which is important in conserving the population number of this species.
“In the show you’ll see us diving with them and everyone always says is it scary? It’s really not,” says Stuntz, who is also a marine biologist. “Much scarier with the microphone with the camera in your face here is what I always say.”
Sharks may be considered by many as one of the scariest animals out there but Stuntz feels otherwise. In fact, the marine biologist claims to be moved upon encountering sharks face to face.
However, Shark Week will not air its highly controversial megalodon mockumentaries. This feature drew criticisms after Discovery Channel showed actors on a mission to find a living megalodon.
Discovery Channel’s most-watched Shark Week episode was called “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” which aired in 2013. Fans were angered and were left feeling betrayed after expecting an actual live specimen of the extinct monster shark species.
Discovery Channel stated they will focus more on research and science this year. Despite the loss of the popular but scandalous Shark Week feature, at least viewers still have the Mako sharks to look forward to this year.