Our Fascination and Fear of Sharks

Award winning environmental journalist Juliet Eilperin to discuss her book on the supposed ‘demon fish’

Juliet Eilperin

MIAMI — Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks offers readers a high-spirited global investigation that uncovers the often surprising and inexplicable ways people and cultures relate to, and engage with, the ocean's top predator.

Environmental journalist and 2011 Peter Benchley Ocean Award winner, Juliet Eilperin, will offer a lecture at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science Auditorium on October 19 at 6 p.m. A welcome reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. and copies of her book will be available for purchase after the lecture, courtesy of Books & Books.

Eilperin—national environmental reporter for the Washington Post—begins her journey in Papua New Guinea, where sharks play a unique role in creation myths, and where the practice of shark calling—summoning sharks by magic—still flourishes. She takes us to Hong Kong and mainland China, where we glimpse the gruesome finning practices that supply the prime ingredient for status-imbuing shark fin soup. In Miami, we meet Mark “The Shark” Quartiano, shark-fishing guide to the stars. And wherever she travels—from Japan to the Yucatan peninsula, from Indonesia to Cape Town South Africa— Eilperin illuminates the ways in which the mythological significance attributed to these animals has made them objects of reverence, fear, and fascination. While some of these misperceptions have helped propelled sharks’ decline, Eilperin also captures how humans are now reassessing their view of sharks.

It is estimated that in the last 50 years, nearly 80 percent of sharks have disappeared. Eilperin has journeyed into the field with scientists at the Rosenstiel School, including faculty members Beth Babcock and Neil Hammershclag, who are conducting critical research on ‘hot spots’ for shark birthing and feeding, population dynamics, as well as human threats to shark populations, in an effort to inform world-wide ocean policy.

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

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