Must Not Offend Sharks. Wait…What?

When is an attack not an attack?

Apparently when a shark does it.

Officials in Australia are describing shark attacks as “interactions” or “negative encounters” as part of a new strategy for helping the animals to be more understood.

The change in language is part of an effort to overhaul public perception of the threatened species, with authorities and scientists keen to change their long-standing image as deadly, man-eating animals.

Multiple scientists have argued that terms like “attack” and “bite” have created a culture of fear surrounding the animals, which is harming efforts to help protect them.

Leonardo Guida, a shark researcher at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, told The Sydney Morning Herald that ending the use of such terms “help dispel inherent assumptions that sharks are ravenous, mindless man-eating monsters”.

In New South Wales, officials have changed the way they describe human encounters with sharks that result in injuries.

A government spokeswoman said its formal shark reports now generally refer to “incidents” or “interactions” with the animals, meanwhile in Queensland the state government’s SharkSmart website now describes how to minimise risks “of a negative encounter with a shark”.

We happen to like and respect sharks.

We hate the idea that the number of and diversity within species of sharks are declining.

But changing the language doesn’t help the sharks. Frankly, the sharks themselves don’t seem too offended by how their feeding habits are described.

For example, here is a short clip of a shark going after a tarpon fish:

We are pretty sure the tarpon didn’t think “I am not being attacked by this shark. This is just an ‘interaction’ or a ‘negative encounter’.”

In short, “sharks gonna shark.” They are going to do what they do survive.

We should respect that and not try to change the language to something else.

One Response to “Must Not Offend Sharks. Wait…What?”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    I just hope the next time i have an “interaction” with a shark i don’t get bitten 🙂