“The chances of falling victim to a shark attack are incredibly slim, yet these majestic creatures represent one of mankind’s greatest fears. In a world where every shark encounter is front page news, can we fight back against this distorted perception?”
This week in the The Stand (a new online mag featuring various research related stories from the University of Wollongong): “Why are we scared to go in the water?” looks at the work of Dr Leah Gibbs and Dr Andrew Warren who study cultural perceptions and policy approaches towards sharks.
It also touches on their multidisciplinary project: ‘Threatened & threatening: governing sharks for conservation and human safety’ led by Dr Leah Gibbs with collaborators Dr Quentin Hanich (Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security), Dr Andrew Warren (Department of Geography & Sustainable Communities) as well as Matt and I (Fish Thinkers/UOW Centre for Sustainable Ecosystem Solutions).
In this project, supported by UOW’s Global Challenges Program, we are bringing together experts in social science, marine biology, and fisheries, to shed light on the effectiveness and effects of shark safety management. Another aspect is to contribute to a public conversation about how we might better manage shark hazards while taking responsibility for the impacts of our actions on marine life and environments. Stay tuned for more on this project but for now be sure to take a read of “Why are we scared to go in the water?”
Want more background? Check out the The Conversation pieces: ‘Spectacular shark encounter: Fanning’s close shave reminds us we share the ocean‘ (20 July 2015); Western Australian shark cull policy dumped: experts react (12 September 2014).