Shark attacks have been renamed “negative encounters” or “interactions”
Australian authorities are pushing to rename shark attacks as “negative encounters” or “interactions”.
Campaigners have long called for a change in the language used to describe shark attacks to strengthen conservation efforts and change perceptions of misunderstood creatures as vicious.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society, along with the state governments of Queensland and New South Wales, have already taken the plunge.
In the Sunshine State, a government website set up to monitor the incidents describes them as “negative encounters,” while in New South Wales, the Department of Primary Industries points out that victims often label their own experiences as negative. ‘”Interaction incidents”.
The ministry worked closely with Bite Club, a support group for shark attack survivors, to educate its language.
“Bites” will be preferred over “attacks” in Queensland’s social research-based shark incident communications.
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Talk to The Sydney Morning HeraldLast week, University of Sydney researcher Christopher Pepin-Neff said such encounters have been referred to locally as “shark accidents” since before the 1930s when a prominent surgeon began to describe them. as shark attacks and nets have been introduced to city beaches across the country.
Dr Pepin-Neff told the newspaper that the language change “has been happening for some time.”
“’The shark attack’ is a lie,” he said, noting that more than a third of the encounters left no injuries, while others include minor bites from small sharks that didn would not have been a predatory action.
Eight people were killed in shark attacks in Australia last year.
Australian Marine Conversation Society shark researcher Leonardo Guida said word choice is important “because it helps dispel the inherent assumptions that sharks are voracious and stupid man-eating monsters. “.
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The public can tell the difference between dog bites and dog attacks, said Dr Guida, and avoiding the term “attacks” in shark incident reports “helps improve the public’s understanding of sharks and sharks. their behaviour “.
Avoiding the use of “attacks” also helps preserve animals – whose numbers are declining around the world due to pollution, overfishing and the increasing impacts of climate change.
Great whites, the most feared species of all, are classified as vulnerable by the World Wildlife Foundation, killed for their fins and teeth by trophy hunters and “often caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries and can also s ‘entangled in meshes which protect the beaches “.