TAMPA — A shark expert and underwater photographer whose work is showcased on Discovery’s “Shark Week” says coming face to face with a shark is an “indescribable” experience.
“When that eye starts looking you up and down, sizing you up, trying to figure out what you are doing, it’s a personal moment that you don’t forget,” says Joe Romeiro, who has been up close and personal with almost every species of shark.
“People identity with sharks — their power, cunning and fierce ruthlessness — which is why ‘Shark Week’ continues to be a hit,” Romeiro said on a recent visit to Tampa.
Now in its 27th year, “Shark Week” gets underway at 11 a.m. Sunday with some of the best shark-themed specials from past seasons including “How Jaws Changed the World” at 3 p.m. By 7 p.m., this year’s new programming begins with “Air Jaws: Fin of Fury,” a worldwide search for a mega shark.
The programming continues daily through Aug. 16 with other past specials and 13 new documentaries coupled with a live talk show, “Shark After Dark,” at 11 each night. That’s the most premiere hours ever featured in the event’s history.
Among the new shark stories is “Monster Hammerhead,” a look at a legendary shark that supposedly lurks in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, at 10 p.m. Monday.
Others include “Sharkageddon” (10 p.m. Thursday) about shark attacks in Hawaii; “Lair of the Mega Shark” (10 p.m. Tuesday), which follows shark experts to New Zealand to investigate sightings of a 20-foot great white; “Zombie Sharks” (9 p.m. Wednesday), which explores tonic immobility, a catatonic zombie-like state that can be achieved in sharks; and “Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss” (9 p.m. Tuesday), about a species in the depths of the Indian Ocean that scientists never knew existed and the last known group of bioluminescent sharks in the world.
Also new are “Spawn of Jaws: The Birth” (11 p.m. Wednesday), which follows the birth of a baby great white shark; “Great White Matrix” (9 p.m. Aug. 16), about shark attacks in the waters of Australia; “Jaws Strikes Back” (9 p.m. Monday), about the hunting behavior of the largest great white sharks on Earth; “I Escaped Jaws 2” (9 p.m. Thursday), featuring survivors of shark attacks; and “Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine” (9 p.m. Sunday), which explores the legend of an enormous great white shark off the coast of South Africa.
“Megalodon: The New Evidence” (10 p.m. Friday) presents Shark Week viewers with new evidence and interview footage about an April 2013 attack on a fishing vessel in which all on board were killed.
Romeiro says “Shark Week” has contributed to a better understanding of shark behavior and a new appreciation for shark conservation. “It is estimated that 70 million sharks are being killed every year by the fishing industry and no animal on this plant can sustain that kind of catastrophic loss,” he said.