Public perception and understanding of shark attack mitigation measures in Australia

Roxanne Crossley, C Collins, Stephen Sutton, Charlie Huveneers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)


    Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a significant and growing problem, with mitigation measures being increasingly dependent on sociopolitical landscapes. We surveyed 766 people from two Australian states to assess their understanding of shark attack mitigation measures. Although beach users were relatively aware of existing mitigation measures, the efficacy of aerial patrol was overestimated, as was the risk of shark attack. The latter, as well as the innate fear of shark attacks, is likely to explain the high level of worry related with shark attack and fits within the affect heuristic that can influence how people respond to risk situations. Beach users did not, however, choose beaches based on existing mitigation measures. Results highlight the need for improved education about the risks of shark attack and for further research into the emotional response from low probability-high consequences incidents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)154-165
    Number of pages12
    JournalHuman Dimensions of Wildlife
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


    • aerial patrols
    • Australia
    • beach meshing
    • human-wildlife conflict
    • public awareness


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