Report:Shark Bites and Shark Conservation: An Analysis of Human Attitudes Following Shark Bite Incidents in Two Locations in Australia

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Shark Bites and Shark Conservation: An Analysis of Human Attitudes Following Shark Bite Incidents in Two Locations in Australia is a paper by Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff, a lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney published by in 2017.

Key takeaways[edit | edit source]

  • Public attitudes toward sharks are complex and nuanced: The article shows that most respondents in both locations prefer nonlethal policies, believe shark bites are accidental, and have pride in their local shark populations.
  • Fear of sharks is influenced by perceptions of intentionality: The article demonstrates that fear of sharks correlates with support for lethal policies, but this association is mediated by whether people think sharks bite humans on purpose or not.
  • Media and film narratives can shape public opinion and policy responses: The article discusses how the Jaws effect, or the use of film-based historical analogies, can frame shark bites as intentional, fatal and requiring lethal responses, and how this can be challenged by new evidence and perspectives.
  • New descriptive labels can improve public understanding and conservation: The article proposes to replace the term “shark attack” with more accurate and less sensational categories, such as sightings, encounters, bites and fatal bites, to reduce fear and promote more informed and evidence-based policy preferences.
  • Education and communication are key to promoting shark conservation: The article highlights the importance of public education on shark behavior, ecology and conservation, as well as the role of media in shaping public opinion and policy preferences, and the need for more balanced reporting and the inclusion of expert voices.
  • Shark bites can have economic impacts on local tourism industries: The article analyzes the economic effects of shark bites on local tourism industries, and how this can be mitigated through effective communication and management strategies.
  • Challenges for shark conservation: Some of the challenges include the lack of public awareness and education on shark conservation issues, the persistence of negative media and film narratives that portray sharks as villains, the political pressure to respond to shark bites with lethal measures, the lack of funding and resources for shark research and management, and the threats of overfishing, habitat loss, climate change and pollution on shark populations.
  • Opportunities for shark conservation: Some of the opportunities include the growing public interest and support for shark conservation, especially among younger generations, the emergence of new actors and movements that advocate for nonlethal policies and the protection of sharks, the development of new technologies and methods to study and monitor shark behavior and ecology, the potential for ecotourism and education to generate economic and social benefits from shark encounters, and the recognition of sharks as important regulators of marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Full paper Article is free to access but requires registration.