Tide of Public Opinion Turns Against Shark Culling, Study Reveals

posted: 09/29/15
by: Danny Clemens
Relive Shark Week 2015:

Australians are turning against measures that support the systematic capture and killing of sharks, new research shows.

A recent University of Sydney-backed study asked 500 residents in the New South Wales town of Ballina how the government should respond to recent shark bites.

Only 3% of respondents supported hunting sharks; more than two-thirds of respondents supported public education campaigns, further research into shark behavior and investments in non-lethal technology.

great white shark swimming
Elias Levy via Flickr

More than half of respondents also indicated that they believe most shark bites were accidental, a sentiment echoed by experts who call shark bites a case of "mistaken identity."

"For three years I have looked across Australia for public sentiment to match the political dialogue that supports lethal nets, culls, hunts, and drum lines but the reality is that these options are now out of touch with the public," lead researcher Dr. Christopher Neff remarked in a news release.

In recent years, the Australian government has come under fire for its controversial shark culling program. Despite a call earlier this summer to reactivate the program following a spate of lethal shark bites, officials instead elected to invest $250,000 in a shark tagging and monitoring campaign.


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