June 2019 Program

May 29, 2019 1:10 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

Making Friends With Sharks Without Feeding Them
By Jim Abernethy

Jim Abernethy, an award-winning underwater photographer, author, filmmaker and conservationist. He is a pioneer in large predatory cageless shark encounters with some of the world's most notorious sharks. Scuba diving since his youth inspired his life's mission to spread the word about the importance of worldwide ocean conservation.

For decades, Abernethy has been running photography/video expeditions to guide encounters with the world's largest predatory sharks. He pioneered shark encounters without a cage (day and night) with tiger sharks, great hammerheads, oceanic white tips, bulls, and lemon sharks. Jim’s tireless efforts to help save sharks around the world were part of the reason why the Bahamian waters were recognized as a shark sanctuary, in July 2011. This was a huge victory for sharks around the world.

His award-winning marine life images are represented in galleries, nature & photography magazines, as well as his stock agent, National Geographic. Raising awareness about the need for conservation remains Abernethy’s primary focus when aiming his camera at wildlife subjects. Additionally, he has launched two separate series of books, in collaboration with award-winning author Jennifer R. Nolan, that seek to educate and empower others to join in key conservation efforts.

Abernethy has hosted and been featured in many of the world's top nature filmmakers shows, such as Imax, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel. His images are available at National Geographic Image Library. He owns the "Marine Life Art Gallery" in West Palm Beach, FL, where his captivating images and unique and educational books are available as well. When he's not below sea level, Jim is often seen piloting his flying inflatable boat (ultra-light), "Oversear," in order to capture nature at sea with his lens from an aerial perspective.

While Abernethy is well known as a world-class photographer and passionate conservationist, it's his unique ability to bring divers up close to some of the largest predatory sharks safely, in turn inspiring them to become vocal and passionate ambassadors to save the sharks, that separates him from the rest.

Abernethy is best known for the relentless pursuit of his life's mission: to save the planet's ocean creatures, starting with sharks, through his photography, books, films, and presentations. His colleagues have recognized Abernethy with four lifetime achievement awards for his relentless dedication to ocean conservation and the protection of sharks. He was the recipient of the Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award at the Go Blue Event in 2011, the Crest Award from Gumbo Limbo in 2013 and was honored with The Wyland Icon award in 2011. Last year he received the Shark-Con 2018 Conservation award for his relentless efforts saving sharks!

Jim is the founder of three ocean conservation-based non-profits Operation Blue Pride, WildlifeVOICE and Project Seahorse for Kids. Operation Blue Pride helps veterans learn to scuba dive, while forming an army of advocates to take on ocean issues. WildlifeVOICE works with many entities, giving a voice for those who cannot speak. Presently, WildlifeVOICE is working to protect wildlife in the state of Florida from the Red Tide issues. WildlifeVOICE was the driving force in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWCC) April 2018 decision to continue protecting the critically endangered goliath grouper.

Believing that science is critical to saving our wildlife, Jim works with a number of scientists by providing them with the resources necessary for the collection of marine science data. To date, the fields of research to which Jim’s company has been able to assist include formal and informal studies of: sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, cephalopods, reef ecosystems and coral reefs just to name a few.

Jim lives primarily at sea, in the Bahamas, running shark expeditions and wild dolphin encounters year-round on his boat, "Shear Water." He can also be found in Mexico running eco-tourism expeditions for whale sharks and manta rays. His dive business, Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures Inc., is based in West Palm Beach, FL. For more information you are invited to visit: www.scuba-adventures.com.

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