Kochevar said the bigger picture around his research, and his team's Shark Week participation, is using new technologies to help the public understand the importance of preserving the Pacific Coast of the United States. The coastline supports a vast bio-diversity that includes not only sharks but also blue whales, elephant seals, and leatherback sea turtles.
Kochevar contrasted the West Coast with the East Coast, which has been "hammered" by more than a century of industrial use and excessive fishing, and the Gulf of Mexico, which he characterized as "a mess." Pacific Coast resources have not been exploited or polluted to the same extent, he said.
Conservation efforts such as Kochevar described are at the heart of Shark Week. Its partners, which include the non-profit Oceana and The Pew Charitable Trust, are listed on the sharkweek.com fan site. Through its collaborations with various environmental advocacy groups, the Discovery Channel has helped to put a particular dent in shark finning. Though its programming has come to include a lot of bleeding edge gear, the channel has been turning to a tried and true method during this year's broadcast to perpetuate its anti-finning message: public service announcements.