Christopher Neff

As an American political scientist specialising in public attitudes and policy responses to shark bites, I am pleased and honoured to have been a Save Our Seas Foundation advisor in 2013. You could say that I began my research at the age of eight, watching the movie Jaws. I was in awe of sharks and began reading all the available books about them, which included the classic oceanography writings of Ron and Valerie Taylor.

For me, shark bite policy responses have a vital role to play in the conservation of sharks because these predators can only be protected successfully if we address the fact that the general public has very different feelings about sharks swimming in the middle of the ocean and sharks swimming along local beaches. This is one of the reasons why there is a disconnect between public alarm at shark finning and public policies that allow for shark culling off beaches. Indeed, the beach is the starting point for nearly all human–shark perceptions and policies. As a result, perceptions about local shark populations can impact broader conversations about national and international shark conservation.