Shark expert available to talk Shark Week

Published: August 12 2014


Florida’s leading shark expert is warning viewers not to get caught up in the guts and glamour of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.

George Burgess is director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the University of Florida and co-author of “Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide.” He said viewers should be careful not to believe everything they see on TV.

“Shark Week has devolved into more of an entertainment experience as opposed to an educational one,” he said.

Although Florida led the world in shark attacks in 2013 with 23 incidents, Burgess said 2014 has been a relatively average year so far.

“It’s more of a human phenomenon than a shark phenomenon,” he said, explaining that as the number of people entering the water increases, so will the number of shark interactions. “We’re putting so many people in water that we sort of rock the equation to our side.”

Burgess’ areas of expertise include the life history, ecology, systematics and conservation of sharks, skates and rays.

He is available for interviews and can be reached at 352-318-3812 or