The award-winning whale shark documentary, “Shores of Silence,” is available for viewing online at TheUnderwaterChannel.tv. The film, which was directed and financed by Mike Pandey, documents the mass hunting of whale sharks off the coast of Gujarat, India. Click to watch “Shores of Silence” (Warning: this documentary chronicles the capture and butchering of whale sharks.)
When the film was shot, whale sharks were not protected in India’s waters under the Wildlife Act of 1972, allowing the slaughter of the animals to go unregulated. While the film does feature footage that might be difficult for some to watch, it had such an impact that the government of India introduced legislature protecting the whale shark in 2001. Aware that legislation protecting whale sharks would have a detrimental financial impact on the fishermen who hunted them, Pandey also explored ways that the fishermen could earn a living as guides for whale shark tourism targeted toward tourists and divers interested in seeing the animals in their natural habitat.
The big thing that jumps out at me about this documentary is that, while Pandey clearly is against the hunting of whale sharks, he does touch on the livelihood of the fishermen who hunt them and does not turn a blind eye to their need to sustain themselves and their families. Pandey points out that the fishermen, who actually expose themselves to the risky whale shark hunts, actually do not make a lot of money off of their kills, while exporters reap about 40x as much financial gain as the fishermen in the southeast Asian markets. Pandey is not so one-sided that he is only concerned about the welfare of the whale sharks while ignore the welfare of those who make a living off hunting them. His ideas of preserving the whale sharks and turning Gujarat into a whale shark tourism site is a win-win situation for the fishermen and the sharks.
For more information about the film visit Shores of Silence – Green Oscar winner at Wildscreen at UnderwaterChannel.tv.