August 7, 2018 – With the recent success of Shark Week’s 30thseason on Discovery Channel, The Islands Of The Bahamas received tremendous exposure globally. In the process, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was awarded more than $250,000 toward its efforts for shark and marine conservation.

Shark Week, television’s longest-running program, aired its 30thseason on Discovery Channel, July 22-29, 2018 during prime time.  According to the latest television ratings released by the Nielsen Company, the week-long shows, which featured several A-list celebrities, with some shows filmed in The Bahamas, topped both last year’s Shark Week and Shark Week 2016 across adults, men and women 25-54 and 18-49 years old.  

This year’s Shark Week ranked as the 2ndhighest rated Shark Week on record (behind 2015) among women 25-54 in total day and reached 34.9 million viewers. Additionally, it engaged fans across multiple platforms and reached 48 million users across Facebook, Instagram and garnered 3.5 million streams across all Discovery Go digital platforms daily, the highest in the channel’s history. 

Due to its popularity, Discovery Channel was also Cable’s #1 network in prime time across all 25-54’s 18-49’s and 18-34’s and claimed 8 of Cable’s Top 10 non-sports telecasts, in which ‘Shaq Does Shark Week,’ filmed in Nassau, Bahamas and featuring NBA great Shaquille O’Neil, was the #1 ranked show.  Other segments of the show that were filmed in The Bahamas included, ‘Naked and Afraid of Sharks,’ filmed in Andros, ranked #2; ‘Laws of Jaws,’ filmed in Grand Bahama, ranked 4th; ‘Bear vs Shark’ (with Adventurer Bear Grylls), filmed in Bimini, ranked #8 and ‘Guy Fieri’s Feeding Frenzy,’  filmed in Nassau and Andros, ranked 10th.  

According to Donna Mackey, Sr. Sales Manager at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA), who has worked since 2007 on numerous projects alongside Luke Tipple, TV host, marine biologist, author and producer, said she was delighted to work with him and his team on this exciting and fantastic opportunity for The Bahamas.

“When Luke approached us about this project, I immediately became excited about it because I knew the substantial potential that The Islands Of The Bahamas would have gained globally from the Show’s vast level of exposure as well as the financial benefit for BNT, one of our local civic organizations,” she said. 

“Fifty percent of the shows aired during Shark Week were filmed in The Bahamas, including Grand Bahama, Andros, Cat Island, Bimini and Nassau, and all featured our beautiful waters, marine life, cuisine and culture, so that was wonderful exposure for us and our islands in particular,”noted Mackey.

“Special thanks and appreciation are also extended to producers Luke Tipple and Scotty Gray for the untold promotional value they have provided to The Bahamas through these films, not just this year but over the past 13 years,” she said.  

The initial prize for the country that won Shark Week was a $50,000 award from Discovery Channel and Shark Tank to its local civic organization, dedicated to shark and marine conservation. 

That prize, however, quadrupled, and the BNT was awarded $250,000, thanks to contributions from additional supporting partners.

Eric Carey, Executive Director at the BNT, said he is “super elated and grateful to Donna Mackey and the BMOTA for referring us to the show’s producers as well as to Daymond John”.  

“We pitched our initiatives and plans to Shark Tank’s guru and successful businessman, Daymond John, who was so impressed with the professionalism of The Bahamas’ team and our work, that he matched and personally contributed an additional $50,000 to the prize.  That contribution led to an additional donation of $150,000 from the Global Wildlife Conservation group in Austin, Texas. Plans are underway to further leverage the awarded sum, to an even greater amount,” he said.  

“In 2011, the BNT convinced the then government of The Bahamas of the need to protect sharks and marine resources in The Bahamas and that sharks were more valuable alive than dead.   More than $114 million dollars is generated each year in The Bahamas from ‘shark tourism,’ that is, from visitors who come here to dive and in particular, swim with our sharks,” Carey said.

“The Bahamas has the most diverse and highest quality of shark species and marine resources than any other country in the Western Atlantic region inclusive of South America, Canada and the United States of America.  Our fight to conserve and protect our waters and marine life from poachers, illegal diving and combat the negative impact it causes is on-going, but the added funding will help us preserve and sustain this vital industry for generations to come,” Carey remarked.