Officials in parts of Australia will also refer to “bites” rather than “attacks” as they seek to avoid scaring people off public beaches.
The move comes despite an increase in deadly shark attacks around the world last year, including a string of deaths in Australian waters.
A Queensland official told a recent shark conference that the state would use the term “bites,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
And Queensland’s ‘SharkSmart’ information website tells people how to ‘reduce the risk of a negative shark encounter’.
In New South Wales, the Department of Primary Industries, which is responsible for fisheries and aquaculture, has moved away from the term “attacks” in its official shark reports, referring instead to “incidents” or “Interactions”.
A spokesperson said: [We are] respectful that each incident is best described by the person involved. “
Shark activists welcomed the changes in terminology, saying it reflected the majority of incidents did not result in injury.
University of Sydney shark researcher Dr Christopher Pepin-Neff said: ‘The shark attack’ is a lie. “
He said that until the 1930s they were called “shark accidents”.