Brett McBride — The Evolution Of A Shark ManBy Chris Landers
Published: April/May 2013
A childhood dream to become a professional fisherman takes an unexpected twist.
Captain Brett McBride, who sprang to fame on National Geographic's "Shark Men", says he is not a showboater. This is partly a response to critics who have accused him of exactly that. As he says it, he's demonstrating his technique for leading a 17-foot long great white into a metal-and-plastic corral, lifting the whole thing out of the water to tag the shark, while streaming seawater over its gills with a hose, and then steering the huge animal out the other side, by the tail. (It is no more complicated, and no saner, than it sounds.)
McBride is the captain aboard Ocearch, the vessel owned by the organization, of the same name, that facilitates the research of sharks. They partner with scientists to give them a research platform for tagging and testing great whites. Scientists who've worked with them say it is a unique opportunity to document a species about which little is known, but the mission has not been without controversy. Before the vessel arrived in Cape Cod last summer, a petition against them circulated, criticizing their methods. If there is an element of showmanship in what he does, McBride says it's for a good cause.
"The television part is a huge part of what we do," McBride says. "It creates awareness. We have millions of kids watching. There might be 10 thousand new marine biologists that are 6 or 12 years old now and are getting inspired by what we're doing."
McBride has been in front of the camera for 15 years now, first on ESPN2's "Offshore Adventures", then a progression of shows ("Ocean Hunters", "Shark Hunters", "Shark Men") leading to "Shark Wranglers" (on the History Channel), which documents the voyages of their boat.
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