Australia to rebrand shark attacks as ‘negative encounters’ and ‘interactions’

15 July 2021, 10:03

Australia is set to rename shark attacks ‘interactions’ and ‘negative encounters’
Australia is set to rename shark attacks ‘interactions’ and ‘negative encounters’. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Attacks by sharks are set to be rebranded as "interactions" or "negative encounters" in an attempt to change the predators' image as a "man-eating monster."

Scientists have said the move is a positive one as parts of Australis will change terminology in an attempt to avoid scaring people away from public beaches.

Authorities will also now refer to “bites” rather than “attacks” as part of the drive to encourage more people to go to the beach.

Around five people are killed by sharks each year, while humans kill more than 100 million sharks annually, according to Marine Policy.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported one senior Queensland official told a recent shark conference the state would be using the term "bites".

And the Queensland "SharkSmart" information website tells people how to "minimise your risk of a negative encounter with a shark."

In New South Wales the department responsible for fisheries and aquaculture, has moved away from the term "attacks" in its official shark reports, referring instead to "incidents" or "interactions."

A spokesman said: [We are] respectful that each incident is best described by the individual involved."

Leonardo Guida, a shark researcher at the Australian Marine Conservation Society said a change in language matters “because it helps dispel inherent assumptions that sharks are ravenous, mindless man-eating monsters”.