The trial use of shark nets off five beaches in Ballina Shire caused significant community backlash when it was initiated in 2016 with community support halving by the time it was dropped in 2018. Once again researchers from Charles Sturt University are looking for participants to participate in a study on community attitudes to sharks.
Associate Professor Peter Simmons and Dr Michael Mehmet have been studying community attitudes to sharks in NSW since 2016. They are now looking for participants for a survey that aims to understand community attitudes to different approaches to managing and conserving sharks that will inform future government policy.
‘Beaches, sharks and the ocean are all very important to Australians,’ Professor Simmons said.
‘Authorities often find themselves between competing advice about the best way forward. It will be valuable now to get an understanding of how many people support the different shark management approaches that are under consideration by governments and relevant agencies.’
The are currently looking for 1,000 to participate in the study that is being funded by the department of primary industries (DPI).
‘Participants are given a scenario involving an incident with a shark and then asked to indicate their attitudes to different approaches to managing the incident,’ Dr Mehmet explained.
‘We are interested to hear from people over the age of 18, including people who use or have an interest in the beach and ocean, as well as people who don’t go to the beach.’
The Charles Sturt ‘Shark Conservation and Management Survey’ can be completed here.