Around New England

Time To Start Using Shark-Friendly Language, Environmentalist Says

August 14, 2019

“Shark attacks,” “shark-infested waters,” shark “invasion,” and shark “infiltration” should all be jettisoned as terms to describe huge increases in sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, a pro-shark environmentalist says.

“Sharks are in desperate need of conservation and protection …” but instead have been subject to “decades of irrational fearmongering,” writes Reginald Walden in a guest column in The Cape Cod Times.

“ ‘Attack language’ inaccurately implies that sharks deliberately harm humans. Terms such as ‘shark encounters’ and ‘shark bites,’ the vast majority of which are accidents, are more appropriate,” Walden writes. “Shark bites are extremely rare, to the point where the Discovery Channel must recycle the same bite stories to continue making documentaries about them annually.”

Sharks, Waden writes, “are appearing in greater numbers because they are a conservation success story.”

Sharks attacked and bit two men in the summer of 2018 off the Outer Cape, one of which was seriously injured and another of which died.

Some shark skeptics want to see hunting of seals and sharks to try to make the waters off Outer Cape beaches safer for people.

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