British diver and wildlife filmmaker captures a huge hammerhead shark being fed a fish snack.
Dan Abbott, 36, is originally from South East England and is now living in Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea where he works as an Underwater Camera Operator and Wildlife Filmmaker for marine NGOs and Spain’s Balearic Government.
The video shows a box containing the fish parts being opened by a woman diver named “Logan” and a fish removed and held up as the huge hammerhead approaches. The brave diver then continues to hold it just out of reach as the shark tries to bite down before eventually grabbing the morsel and swallowing it as it slowly swims off.
Dan told Newsflash that the video was filmed in January this year near the small island of Bimini in the Bahamas, where great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) can be found in the winter months.
Asked about what it was like being up close and personal with the huge hunters, he said: “The feeling of being close to a hammerhead, or any shark for that matter, tends to be humbling and often awe-inspiring.
“For me as a cinematographer, the challenge is to allow yourself to feel these emotions but to also be able to concentrate on the shot. It would be no good me having a wonderful moment with a shark, but for the images to be terrible and out of focus.”
He also added that despite their huge size and fearsome reputation, the situation was relatively free of danger.
He said: “The only possible risk is the shark bumping into you by accident, but that doesn’t happen often, they are very good at being aware of their surroundings, so it’s important when working with sharks to do the same.
Dan said that Logan, who works with Bimini Scuba Centre in Bimini, is one of the best to work with and he knows how to work with sharks.
He said: “Logan has huge experience and knowledge of these animals, and is one of the best in the business. She knows each shark by name and understands their individual characters and personalities, which is vital.
“Shark personalities are often the factor not taken into account when sharks are reported about in the media. In 2019, I gave a TED talk about the personalities and differences in great white shark individuals.
“I have been obsessed with sharks since I was very young, but only saw a shark for the first time when I was 27. In that moment my life totally changed, I went from working as a drummer to finding ways of working with sharks immediately. Through an internship programme in South Africa working with great white sharks, I learnt about underwater cameras and filmmaking, which then led me down the path I’m on now.”
He said that there are actually several different species of hammerhead sharks, in effect nine, and that the great hammerhead is the largest, but it is also listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN’s Red List. Their population has come under serious threat due to overfishing, by-catch, and because their fins are used to make sharkfin soup.
He added: “One of the main reasons I got into filming sharks underwater was to show people how incredibly beautiful they are (even the weird-looking ones like hammerheads) and to allow people to fall in love with them so they can be a part of helping to keep them on this planet for a little longer.”
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