JE: I became intrigued by the ocean, which remains unexplored territory to a great extent. So writing about sharks was a way to investigate the sea, as well as our relationship to it.
JE: Sherman in “Sherman’s Lagoon,” the cartoon strip by Jim Toomey. He’s funny, adorable, and teaches kids about the ocean. You can’t get any better than that.
JE: The most surprising revelation I had in the course of writing the book was learning about our evolutionary connections to shark. I learned from reading Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish that the muscles we use to chew and to talk, as well as the bones in our inner ears, come from sharks. That’s extraordinary.
Sarah Fowler, who is one of the leaders of the shark specialist team for the International Fund for Conservation of Nature, has a dry sense of humor and does terrific research.
There’s a crew of younger shark researchers who are passionate about both their academic investigations as well as making sure sharks stay around, including Demian Chapman and Neil Hammerschlag, and I admire them for it. The one shark hero I’ve yet to meet is Shelley Clarke, who’s done pioneering work on the shark fin trade, so I’d really like to sit down and talk with her.
JE: That’s almost impossible to answer, of course. I’d almost have to say bluefin, such it’s a species that’s under such intense pressure it may be even more imperiled than sharks. But hopefully, no one would eat either one of them.
JE: There’s been a wave of shark fin bans that have spread throughout the U.S., passing in Oregon, Washington and California since my manuscript was finished. I wish I could have included them, since it’s the good news story about what’s happening with sharks.
Let’s take a quick break from the questions to take a look at some cool pictures of Juliet and a little baby lemon shark in Bimini lagoon in the Bahamas – never let it be said that writing books is an easy ride… (photos by Michael Lionstar).
JE: I’d like to know where many of these species reproduce and give birth, since that remains one of the great mysteries.
JE: The interesting thing about Mark Quartiano is he clearly is comfortable at sea, and thinks about its future. He also has been nothing but nice to me, even though he knew all along I wouldn’t treat him with kid gloves.
But one of the things I was struck by, especially the second time I went out with him, was how he feels a tremendous pressure to deliver for his customers. That’s only going to be more difficult as shark populations decline.
JE: That should make it more difficult for him, without question, and he fought against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservations Commission’s ruling. But the new measure only applies to state waters, so Quartiano can simply travel farther out and fish for sharks. Still, that will take a little more time, and could cause him a headache with customers.