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21 May 2013 News flash

Three questions for Robert Calcagno Director General of the Oceanographic Museum

 Robert Calcagno Director General of the Oceanographic Museum © M. Dagnino

Is the exhibition «Requins: l'expo-sensation» about changing the negativity directed at sharks?

For decades, cinema and media have contributed to darkening the reputation of sharks. By devoting an exhibition to them, the Oceanographic Museum wishes to overcome these prejudices. Much less deadly than jellyfish (50), mosquitoes (800,000) or even car accidents (1.2 million), sharks kill less than ten people per year. Each accident is obviously a tragedy, but we shouldn’t make scapegoats out of these large predators. Essential to the ecosystem, today they are more threatened than threatening. Every year, man kills more than 100 million sharks. This exhibition aims to raise public awareness of the fact.

How is it designed?

As a journey for the senses. We have chosen to appeal to emotions and support interactivity, through a new visitor experience. In the shark lagoon, a giant aquarium of 450,000 liters of water, visitors can find several specimens: a three-meter nurse shark, black tip sharks, as well as grey reef sharks which recently arrived at the museum. Walking through the halls, the approach focuses on entertainment. A gigantic digital fresco, spread 20 metres in length and three metres in height, will show for example the biological and behavioral characteristics of a dozen species. Visitors can even calmly approach the sharks, slip a hand into the water and rub their back or sides. A unique experience that will allow them to become the motors of their own discovery and learning.

What events are organised for the exhibition?

Sharks are in fact at the heart of a comprehensive programme supported by the Oceanographic Institute. A series of public conferences, launched in Paris at the start of the year, gives a voice to the major actors in awareness and protection of sharks sectors. This summer, it’s in Monaco when these meeting-events will take place! Every Wednesday at 8.30pm, visitors will be invited to discuss the theme. Nine lecturers in total will participate. Finally, for further study, we have created a documentary book ‘Sharks: beyond misunderstanding’, in collaboration with Editions du Rocher.

For more on the exhibition: www.oceano.org

On the shark program at the institute: www.institut-ocean.org

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