Meet Marine Biologist and Videographer Jacinta Shackleton
Jacinta Shackleton is marine biologist, underwater videographer and master reef guide living and working on the Great Barrier Reef. Jacinta is passionate about education and sharing her underwater experiences with the world both in person and on social media.
Follow her adventures on INSTAGRAM
1. What is your favorite shark and why?
My favorite shark is the epaulette shark because of its ability to walk on its fins and tolerate hypoxia for extended periods of time! To see a shark walking across the reef is just incredible!
VIDEO OF AN EPAULETTE SHARK EATING A WORM
2. What is one shark you would like to photograph?
I would love to photograph great hammerheads. I’ve been fortunate enough to swim with two but my encounters were fairly fast and I wasn’t able to get any close up images. Also a basking shark! That would be insane!
3. How did you get started filming sharks?
My first time filming sharks was at Julian rocks in NSW, Australia where I snorkelled with 7/8 leopard sharks, then more frequently at Lady Elliot island from 2018 onwards where I see a lot of sharks!
Jacinta soaring with a manta ray
4. Why do you think images/videos are important for shark conservation? How can they help?
I believe that photos and videos can take a lot of fear away from the image that has been created of sharks. Unfortunately films like jaws, the Meg and 47 metres down have forced a terrifying concept of sharks into peoples heads which then makes them fear these amazing creatures, so the more we share footage of what they are actually like in the water, the better!
5. What is the coolest/most interesting thing you've seen while diving with/photographing sharks?
The coolest thing while free diving with sharks has been when they are interested in me! I had a leopard shark approach me one day, as have epaulette sharks and whalers and they are curious to see what I am. Also the way that injured sharks interact with you is very interesting and something I would like to learn more about!
6. What is the most challenging thing about photographing/filming sharks?
The most challenging thing when filming sharks is that they are fast and quite often I can’t keep up with them!! So it’s great when you find a white tip or tawny nurse just resting on the sea floor and you can pop down and say hello as they relax.
7. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about sharks?
One thing I wish everyone knew about sharks is to respect them. Always remember you are entering their home and that you should interact with them in a calm manner. Respect that they are apex predators and are essential to the marine ecosystem and that we need sharks to maintain a healthy balance in the ocean!