SharkFriends' Exclusive Online Interview with Rodney Fox
September 22, 2008

“It’s better to respect through understanding than kill out of fear.” ~Rodney Fox

Rodney Fox, famous great white shark expert, shark defender and attack survivor took the time to give SharkFriends this exclusive online interview. Our goal in doing this interview with Rodney is to help the kids out there learn more about these great animals through the experience of an expert out in the field. We hope you enjoy reading this interview with Rodney Fox...

SharkFriends: What were your thoughts toward sharks before the shark attack you experienced and how did they change after the attack?
Rodney: I knew very little about sharks before my attack. There were only a couple of books about game fishing for sharks. I had to find out for myself.

SharkFriends: How did you overcome your fears after being attacked by a shark?
Rodney: I built the first ever under water shark cage for protection and organized an expedition to look at sharks. The more I found out about them including how few attacks and deaths there were the less frightened I became.

SharkFriends: If the shark attack had not happened where do you picture you would be now? Do you think you would still have followed this same path?
Rodney: I expect I would have been a diver of some type but may have not pursued my passion to work with sharks.

SharkFriends: What do you feel is the most important thing that children should know about sharks?
Rodney: Sharks are a necessary part of our oceans and ecology. They are not as dangerous to humans as portrayed by the media.

SharkFriends: When I talk to kids at schools about sharks they are all fascinated, but most admit they are afraid of sharks. Could you tell the kids out there something that could help ease these fears?
Rodney: There are 400 different species of shark in the world. Only a small number have bitten humans. They do not like us as food – we are too boney. Normally they stick to their own food. Worldwide there are very few deaths or attacks by sharks statistically.

SharkFriends: What can kids do now to help save sharks from extinction? (Most feel they have to be grown-ups to help).
Rodney: Learn more about sharks. Write to newspapers and magazines saying ‘Stop killing sharks’. Do not ever eat Shark Fin soup or buy fresh jaws or shark teeth.

SharkFriends: You've spent most of your life around great white sharks, have you ever experienced a single incident that stands out in your mind or the behavior of a particular shark that really shocked you?
Rodney: The raw power of an attacking great white shark (GWS) attacking a bait is awesome. If they wanted to eat us it would be very easy for them to do so.

SharkFriends: Can you describe to us some of your favorite "shark moments"?
Rodney: There is nothing better than being safe inside a cage watching GWS flying through the water as they swim with the fish and giant stingrays.

SharkFriends: In regard to shark finning, there have been shows, documentaries and movies and the message has definitely been put out there, but do you see any real significant changes happening?
Rodney: Educating children about the facts has helped but we need lots more people and children to say "NO, don’t eat shark fin soup". It is estimated that over 100 million are killed each year just for the Shark Fin Soup industry.

SharkFriends: Some first graders recently asked me what was the best books about sharks that they could read. Are there any particular favorite books out there you might recommend for younger kids?
Rodney: Shark books for children are very popular and there are dozens in the market - with new ones arriving every month. Find a shark book that gives information on many different species of shark not just a made up story about one species.

SharkFriends: Finally, is there any special message that you would like to tell the school kids I visit?
Rodney: Some sharks have a dangerous image but are not as bad as portrayed by the media. It is good to do essays and projects on sharks as there is so much interest and information to learn and write about. You can find lots on the internet and in books and teachers usually give high marks for shark projects!!

SharkFriends would like to humbly thank Rodney for this gracious interview. Apparently, Rodney was on his latest expedition when he took the time to answer these questions for us. We at SharkFriends are grateful. Be sure to visit Rodney's official website by clicking on his image at the top of this page!

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