For many sharks are the evil denizens of film and TV, but the reality is they are an important part of our ecosystem, and they’re in danger. A new campaign from Costa Sunglasses, in partnership with OCEARCH and created by McGarrah Jessee, promotes the importance of sharks to the ecosystems of our oceans. Dubbed “Don’t Fear the Fin,” the campaign is introduced through a series of videos featuring the most unlikely of champions: three shark attack survivors.
The Champions of the the sharks are 3 people from different backgrounds, and each with their own stories about close encounters to hare, they are:
At the age of 18, Mike Coots was surfing with some friends off the coast of Kauai when a tiger shark attacked him from below and tore off his right leg. A punch to the shark’s head along with a wave seemingly sent from above carried Coots back to shore, where his friends applied a tourniquet using a leash, and rushed him to the hospital in the back of a pick-up truck. Three weeks later, the longest the native Kauaian had ever been out of the ocean, Coots was back in the water, where today he finds his living as a surf photographer and shark advocate.
Paul De Gelder
Paul is a former Royal Australian Army Paratrooper and Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diver, the Australian equivalent of a U.S. Navy Seal. In February of 2009, Paul survived an attack from a bull shark in Sydney Harbor during routine military exercises. He lost his right hand and had most of his right leg amputated. Four months after the attack, he went skydiving. Today he’s back surfing, driving a car and pumping out 20 chin-ups with the help of specially designed prosthetics. He’s flown a plane, raced a Porsche and amazingly, has dived with bullsharks in the ocean. Along with speaking engagements he has appeared on numerous news and talk shows, including 60 Minutes and both “I Escaped Jaws” and “Shark After Dark” on Discovery Channel’s widely popular “Shark Week.”
A former zookeeper and water wildlife tour guide, Lisa was attacked by a Great White Shark while wakeboarding with friends in 2011. Since her near-fatal attack, she’s overcome physical and emotional barriers to speak out in support of shark conservation causes and protection of our oceans as a whole. From shark diving to school talks and TV/film appearances (including her appearance on The X-Factor), Lisa continues to motivate and inspire, following all of her passions: animals, oceans, music and writing…and hoping to make a difference. She recently joined forces with three other passionate water lovers to start a conservation-driven clothing design company, Elasmo, and spent the last four years helping to develop “Ride Waterpark,” a fully eco-friendly park in Port Stephens (where her attack happened), combining a 9-acre wakeboarding facility with a state-of-the-art rideable wavepool, providing a water recreation facility safe from any unfavorable ocean interactions. While Lisa still chooses to spend most of her time in and around the ocean, she is providing a shark free alternative for those not comfortable in the sea.
About the Campaign
Costa told us:
“When we think about sharks, we think about fear. But the scariest thing about sharks is actually a world without them. Each year humans kill 100 million sharks – senselessly, as collateral damage of long-lining practices as well as illegal fishing and the shark fin trade. But here’s the thing about sharks: they are the apex predictors of our oceans. They keep the balance in check. If the sharks die, our oceans die.
Costa is a brand born on the water and is committed to protecting it. For Costa, conservation is all about sustainable fishing. Many fisheries that should be vibrant and healthy are all but devoid of native fish because they have fallen victim to poor fishing practices, unregulated development, lack of watershed protection or all of the above. Costa works with partners around the world to help increase awareness and influence policy so that both the fish and fishermen of tomorrow will have healthy waters to enjoy.
Since 2009, Costa has partnered with OCEARCH, an at-sea lab led by explorers and researchers who generate critical data and put science on the side of sharks.”
Austin McKenna, Group Account Director, McGarrah Jessee said of the campaign:
“What differentiates Costa from other brands in the performance optical space is the brand’s deep connection to all things water. This informs everything from designing products that perform exceptionally on the water to helping conserve the resource itself.
“The brand has a long history of investing in key issues that affect our oceans, rivers and waterways. For the ‘Don’t Fear the Fin’ campaign, we partnered with OCEARCH, a longstanding Costa ally, to help bring awareness to the plight of sharks in our oceans.
“We set out to spread the message of the important role that sharks play in our ocean’s ecosystem—to let people know that a world without sharks is actually scarier than a world with them. To do that, we’re sharing the stories of shark attack survivors who are now advocates for shark conservation.
“It’s our hope that through the survivors’ testimony, the science OCEARCH brings to the equation, and our brand’s passionate fan base, we can positively influence change in both perception and behavior with real scale. It’s bold and a little polarizing, but ultimately, to get heard in this space requires clarity and courage. And I think we captured that through these stories ably.”
OCEARCH is a recognized world leader in generating critical scientific data related to tracking (telemetry) and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white and tiger sharks, in conjunction with conservation outreach and education at a measurable global scale.
In a collaborative environment established by Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer, OCEARCH shares real-time data through OCEARCH’s Global Shark Tracker, inspires current and future generations of explorers, scientists, and stewards of the ocean, and enables leading researchers and institutions to generate previously unattainable data. OCEARCH has completed 28 expeditions, worldwide, as of April 2017.