That man-eating shark from Jaws may be fictional, but that doesnâ€™t stop people from believing that sharks are out to get us â€” even though itâ€™s not true at all.
Chris Neff, a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, gave this talk at TEDxSydney about his research on the politics of shark attacks. In it, he identifies the three main misconceptions when it comes to shark-human interactions:
1. Sharks do not â€śattackâ€ť.
2. Rogue sharks donâ€™t exist.
3. People donâ€™t always react negatively to sharks following a shark bite.
Stories of sharks biting humans are uncommon, but get a lot of media attention when they do happen and are often sensationalized. A recent increase in shark accidents in Sydney, Australia prompted calls for a massive culling of the shark population.
But the thing is, sharks arenâ€™t attacking humans maliciously. As Neff says, â€śtrying to govern ungovernable events distracts us from real shark bite prevention.â€ť Instead of killing even more of these important predators, we should be restricting areas where humans can swim and dive and changing our own behavior to prevent future accidents.
Because when it comes to sharks, â€śweâ€™re in the way, not on the menu.â€ť