Numerous shark advocates are pressing ahead with their fight for changes to the terminology used to describe shark attacks, in the hope that negative stereotypes about the creature will be shifted by their efforts.
Presently, whenever a shark has an interaction with a human, which are usually violent, they are described as a shark attack, and now, numerous marine experts are calling for a change to the language.
According to The New York Post, experts in Australia have stated that people should stop referring to shark interactions as attacks, declaring that the “majestic creature” has been “unfairly stigmatized as a deliberate killer.”
“Welcome and overdue”
According to a report by Australian news outlet The Sydney Morning Herald, the advocation of these changes is “welcome and overdue,” with scientists stating that the state’s communications wish to see these changes implemented based on social research that they have conducted.
The outlet notes that the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries has begun to change the terminology used in their annual reports.
They have started to refer to shark “attacks” as “incidents” and “interactions,” after they consulted with Bite Club, a group made up of survivors from “shark interactions.”
The report also states that, before the 1930s, interactions with sharks were known as “shark accidents,” before a well-known surgeon, Victor Coppleson, began to label them as “attacks.
Around the same time, shark nets were introduced into city beaches to low the number of “shark attacks.”
According to Leonardo Guida, who is a shark researcher at the AMC Society, the shifting of the wording actually matters, as it will help “dispel the inherent assumptions” regarding sharks, especially that they are monsters.
Dr. Guida added further to his point, stating that people are able to distinguish the difference between dog bites and attacks.
He claims that by changing the terminology about sharks, the public will be able to truly understand sharks and how they actually behave.
Another expert, Dr. Pepin-Neff of the University of Sydney, states that the change has been “coming for a while.”
He claims that the term “shark attack” is a lie, pointing out that over one-third of all interactions with sharks results in no wound.
Professor Nathan Hart, an associate professor at Macquarie University, stated that the last thing they wanted in their movement was more shark deaths, and the altering of terminology will help prevent this from happening.
He stated that sharks do not have hands, so if they want to explore something, they have to use their mouths instead, which sometimes results in wounds.