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François Sarano: “I have never been afraid swimming with sharks”


A BOOK UNDER THE TREE (3/8) - The oceanographer, fellow traveler of Commander Cousteau, signs In the name of sharks, an ode to the most misunderstood of the inhabitants of the ocean.

The book begins with a face-to-face.

In 2006, off the Mexican coast, François Sarano was filming


, under the direction of Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, when he met a funny lady.

"Five meters of muscle, a ton of elegance, Lady Mystery is a female great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, sister to those in



For two minutes, the oceanographer, fellow traveler of Commander Cousteau, and the most feared of the inhabitants of the ocean swim side by side, or rather "

shoulder to fin


Sixteen years later, the diver addresses an ode to the most misunderstood fish - because, yes, it is a fish!

Alternately historical, scientific, sociological,

In the name of sharks

(1) scrutinizes our relationship with this superpredator, today "superpredated", victim of overfishing and the whimsical virtues attributed to its fins.

Through the figure of the shark, both mythologized and dreaded, the scientist questions our relationship to otherness.

A pure gem, which has just received the 30 million Friends award in the Essay category.

Read also“Sharks are believed to devour humans.

It's completely wrong ": immersion with the lords of the ocean


- Why this need to publish a book on sharks today, in 2022?

Francois Sarano.


This coincided with COP 15 on biodiversity.

Little is known, but sharks, rays, all these animals that have a long life and low fertility, are not able to withstand predation and fishing.

Lobsters, sea urchins, fish will survive the threats hanging over the ocean.

Sharks, not sure.

I want my granddaughter to have the chance to see some in her life.

But for us to care about them, we still have to know them.

For years, a misunderstanding has been maintained about them, which does not date from Spielberg's film.

Moreover, they are always referred to by the generic term, "

the sharks

», whereas there are 400 or 500 species.

They do not benefit from the same sympathy capital as cetaceans for example.

On the contrary: some want to eliminate them.

It's not just tons and fins, it's individuals.

From the moment we say that, every shark is irreplaceable.

In November, a decision hailed as historic was taken at the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

About a

hundred species of sharks are classified as protected


What was your reaction ?

The first word was "

great, thank you

", sure.

For the first time on an international scale, we have taken stock of the catastrophic situation for most species of sharks.

The fact remains that in doing so we regulate international trade, not fishing.

We make international exchanges difficult... By forgetting that most fin exchanges are done at the national level.

Will the States play the game and move a finger to regulate fishing, starting with France or Spain, which are among the biggest suppliers of fins?

Nothing says it.

But let's not be choosy, it's a jolt: we become aware thanks to the pressure of a part of public opinion, which wants to believe in it and moderate its impact.

They are right: we must not despair.

When you decide on the right measures at sea, life returns.

If we take the example that interests us, twenty years ago, the porbeagle shark had disappeared.

The French state decided to ban its fishing and today it has returned.

If we slow down in time, we can reverse things.

François Sarano, 4 years old, and his shark buoy.


Some people might see tourism as a threat to the oceans and their inhabitants.

On the contrary, you see it as a chance to raise awareness.

Why ?

It all depends on which tourism we are talking about.

Anyone who goes to meet sharks behind the bars of a cage, luring them with food, bothers me a little because the cage suggests that nature is at our disposal.

Despite everything, this tourist is an ally and the sharks don't have enough.

Only those who have met them, been face to face, eye to eye with them, are their true advocates.

We cannot do without the encounter with this otherness which frightens us.

And I say this when I've never been afraid when diving with them, I who am anything but an adventurer!

But for the meeting to take place in good conditions, you need master divers trained to explain the nature of the animals and not just security specialists.

Read alsoFive diving spots to swim with sharks

How to choose your tour operator if you want to swim with sharks while respecting them?

Are there any main principles to respect?

The monitor must first of all explain to the traveler that he is about to enter a world that is not his own, where creatures live who have other senses than his own and who are not toys.

I've seen people ask for their trip to be refunded because the sharks weren't there!

This missed rendezvous nevertheless speaks of all the freedom of the wild world.

In a world where we do not see the one who is expected, we measure his freedom and therefore ours.

The shark does not spare life, it does not have that freedom.

The confrontation with him gives us an idea of ​​what we should be, we who are aware of the irreversibility of death.

It gives us the freedom to choose to erase or respect life.

This throws us in the face of our nature as



If a reader wants to swim with sharks for the first time, where would you recommend they go?

The variety of species is such that it all depends on the shark.

Personally, I am a lover of the big blue, the high seas, the open sea, because the meeting there is more intimate.

I am very happy to see a blue shark, yet quite common.

To see him swimming like a reptile, with this incredibly flexible swim, with these big eyes following you.

He is close, he is curious, he spins, he is incredibly flexible and the silky blue reflections of his dress are a delight.

The mako is stiff, it swims more jerky.

You hardly see him that he is already gone.

He leaves us a little speechless, with this somewhat blissful happiness.


In the name of sharks

, by François Sarano.

Wild Worlds

” collection, Actes Sud, 304 pages, €21.

In the name of sharks

, by François Sarano Press photo / Actes Sud

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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