SHARK attacks are set to be renamed ‘negative encounters’ and ‘bites’ in an attempt to change deadly predator’s image.
Scientists in Australia are trying to improve perceptions of the animal, and stop putting people off going to the beach.
The change in terminology has been decided despite the great number of fatal shark attacks in the past year.
An official in Queensland told a recent shark conference that the state would prefer the term ”bites” over ”attacks,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Queensland “SharkSmart” information website lists how swimmers can “minimise your risk of a negative encounter with a shark.”
Additionally, the Department of Primary Industries in New South Wales has gradually changed the term “attacks” in its annual reports.
A spokesperson told the outlet: ”NSW DPI is respectful that each incident is best described by the individual involved.
”DPI generally refers to ‘incidents’ or ‘interactions’ in our formal shark reporting.”
Researchers claim the change is important to change the language in order to reflect that the majority of incidents did not result in any injury.
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.”
Meanwhile, researcher Christopher Pepin-Neff from the University of Sydney said ”shark attack is a lie, claiming that shark encounters were branded locally as ”shark accidents” before the 1930s.
According to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida there have been 57 confirmed unprovoked shark bites on humans and 39 provoked bites in the past year.
Out of 18 unprovoked bites reported only in Australia, six of them were fatal while in the US there have been three deaths caused by a shark bite.
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