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We should drop the phrase ‘shark attacks,’ according to scientists

Scientists said people should not refer to incidents with sharks as ‘shark attacks’

Jim Britt, communications director with the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, holds a shark flag in Maine.
Jim Britt, communications director with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, holds a new flag that will fly if sharks are detected near Maine beaches on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press

Sharks don’t attack us, according to wildlife officials. But is there any teeth to that idea?

Well, it’s certainly caught the attention of wildlife officials and researchers, who suggested recently that “shark attacks” isn’t an accurate description of how sharks interact with humans.

Rather, researchers have decided to use phrases such as “bites,” “incidents” and “encounters” when describing shark interactions with humans, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Shark scientists don’t want people to use sensational language when describing incidents with sharks, according to The New York Times.

However, some officials in the U.S. and Australia said they had chosen language for precision — but not because of political correctness or any pressure from animal activists, according to The New York Times.

“I can understand the sort of pushback to what we’re talking about, as a shift to kind of comical euphemism,” said Catherine Macdonald, director of the Field School, a research institute in South Florida, according to The New York Times. “But I think that some of the shifts being described are actually a push toward greater accuracy and detail.”

Just so you know, there are fewer shark incidents happening around the world, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

And, as a reminder — sharks are cool.