The story of shark attack survivor turned shark conservationist and photographer


How did our guest today go from being a shark attack survivor to becoming a powerful voice for ocean and shark conservation? What are some things to do with shark conservation that we should know? Sharing his wisdom with us here is Mike Coots, who was attacked by a shark at age 18 and has since become a professional commercial photographer inspiring shark and ocean conservation. Let's dive in.

This is a conversation on Green Dreamer Podcast with Kaméa Chayne, a show exploring environmental and intersectional sustainability from ideas to life. Subscribe to Green Dreamer on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or any podcast app and let’s learn what it takes to thrive in every sense of the word!


[2:07] What first inspired Mike's passion for nature. 

[4:16] Mike shares the surreal experience of when he lost his leg in a shark attack at the age of 18. 

[14:17] How Mike got into photography after the attack. 

[16:06] Kaméa: "You've worked on some really amazing creative projects. Can you share one of the most touching or memorable things you've worked on?" 

[17:12] Mike on what gave him the courage to photograph sharks for their conservation, in spite of his earlier shark attack. 

[19:52] Mike: "The mindset of that Jaws era—where sharks are these killers that have no soul and are these mindless man-eaters — is shifting into something where we now know that sharks re very important to our oceans and it's been cool to see that shift in the last 5 to 10 years."

[20:55] One thing about shark conservation that most people aren't aware of. 

[21:30] How shark finning works. 

[22:43] Kaméa: "What do you think it will take for us to inspire the perspective shift needed to protect our sharks?" 

[23:03] The link between shark finning, wealth, and increased auditing by the Chinese government. 

[24:09] Kaméa: "What can we as individuals do to support shark conservation?" 

[24:32] Mike: "Find your strength and exploit that strength for a good cause.

[26:24] Mike: "I think the biggest thing we can do for a healthier planet and ocean is changing our mindset to forget the status quo that the problem is too big for us."

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Mike Coots


To follow: The Ocean Cleanup

Words of inspiration: "I look for inspiration from a lot of other adaptive athletes. I follow some people who are doing some amazing things with prosthetics and wheelchairs, and the drive of the human spirit inspires me." 

Health tip: "I swim about an hour a day." 

Green tip: "I'm trying to have less food waste and get a lot of my food right here on the island." 

Element of hope: "Everybody out there wanting to get involved and engaged. It really seems like people want to do something." 

Words of Wisdom: "If you dream of something, do it."   

Two Takeaways