30.4 C
Melbourne
Saturday, June 25, 2022

“Get out of the water!” Monster shark movies massacre shark conservation

Date:

Share:

Undeniably the shark movie to end all shark movies, the 1975 blockbuster, Jaws, not only smashed box office expectations, but forever changed the way we felt about going into the water – and how we think about sharks.

Now, more than 40 years (and 100+ shark movies) on, people’s fear of sharks persists, with researchers at the University of South Australia concerned about the negative impact that shark movies are having on conservation efforts of this often-endangered animal.
 
In a world-first study, conservation psychology researchers, UniSA’s Dr Briana Le Busque and Associate Professor Carla Litchfield have evaluated how sharks are portrayed in movies, finding that 96 per cent of shark films are overtly portraying sharks as a threat to humans.
 
Dr Le Busque says sensationalised depictions of sharks in popular media can unfairly influence how people perceive sharks and harm conservation efforts.
 
“Most of what people know about sharks is obtained through movies, or the news, where sharks are typically presented as something to be deeply feared,” Dr Le Busque says.
 
“Since Jaws, we’ve seen a proliferation of monster shark movies – Open WaterThe Meg47 Metres DownSharknado – all of which overtly present sharks as terrifying creatures with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. This is just not true. 
 
“Sharks are at much greater risk of harm from humans, than humans from sharks, with global shark populations in rapid decline, and many species at risk of extinction.
 
“Exacerbating a fear of sharks that’s disproportionate to their actual threat, damages conservation efforts, often influencing people to support potentially harmful mitigation strategies.
 
“There’s no doubt that the legacy of Jaws persists, but we must be mindful of how films portray sharks to capture movie-goers. This is an important step to debunk shark myths and build shark conservation.”
 
Notes to editors:

Shark nets and culls don’t necessarily make Australian beaches safer

Mick Pachollihttp://www.tagg.com.au
Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.