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What Shark Week does best and why Americans love it

Hard to believe this summer marks the passing of 40 years since Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" made movie history.

But the obsession that the shark drama sparked has only grown stronger with the likes of "Sharknado" and Shark Week, which heads into its 28th incarnation this Sunday.

The man behind many of the award-winning shark films, 333 Productions founder Joe Romeiro, says it's a unique admiration of a fellow predator that fuels the long-held American shark fascination.

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Great White Shark near Guadalupe Island, Mexico.
Dave Fleetham | Getty Images
Great White Shark near Guadalupe Island, Mexico.

"I say it to a lot of my friends, but there's no panda week," Romeiro told CNBC's "Closing Bell." "It seems like this animal is a super iconic creature that everybody finds all these traits inside of that they are admirable about. They admire this animal so much, its beauty, grace, strength." (Tweet This)

Of course, sharks can also attack humans. The phenomenon has been especially bad this year, with more attacks than usual. But Romeiro said that much is to be expected when water temperatures rise.

"The Gulf Stream traveled up really fast this year, which brought a lot of crayfish and sea turtles, predators follow that," he said. "But all of these cases can be mostly proven to be mistaken identity, is what it comes down to."

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But correcting misconceptions like that are exactly what Romeiro says Shark Week does best. As many misconceptions that might exist out of fear for sharks attacks, it's the well-being of sharks themselves that Romeiro and the rest of his team are more concerned about.

"Seventy [million] to 100 million sharks die every year, that's about three sharks every minute, as compared to about three to four human deaths a year by sharks," he said.

The 28th Shark Week premieres this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery Channel.