ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Shark deterrents and detection: Community perceptions, sentiment and preferences for shark management strategies. (2017)


Collaborators are CSU, University of Wollongong (UOW) and NSW DPI who have provided funding through the NSW Shark Management Strategy (SMS) Competitive Annual Grants Program


Associate Professor Peter Simmons, Dr Michael Mehmet and Associate Professor Rod Clarke, (UOW)

Photo from left Dr Michael Mehmet and A/Prof Peter Simmons


Community perceptions will influence acceptability and effectiveness of the NSW Shark Management Strategy (SMS) and its different components. The SMS directly affects the safety of humans and non-human aquatic species. It also impacts a range of social and economic interests such as businesses, tourism operators, councils and coastal recreation.

The project aims to:

Provide evidence to inform shark management policy development and communication

Report on and explain community perceptions of:

  • shark and human coexistence including important situational and contextual influences on perception
  • approaches to management of sharks including acceptability of a range of lethal and non-lethal shark management strategies and an examination of community perceptions of DPI and NSW Government shark policy and directives

The project will use mixed research methods in two stages. The first stage will analyse community perceptions publicly available in popular social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter.) The second stage will use interviews/focus groups with key social and economic stakeholders groups impacted by shark management policy. The main locations for the groups will be sites of previous unprovoked shark attack; highly significant tourist areas; North coast; Mid-north coast; Central coast; South coast; Sydney Metropolitan and Far south coast.

The project is part of an on-going national and international research project providing evidence and guidelines supporting human-wildlife coexistence policy and management with a focus on communication. It links three Australian and three Malaysian universities.


Information from this project will be used to:

  • help develop a model to outline the boundaries of community acceptance for different shark management strategies
  • prioritise allocation of resources for different SMS strategies
  • target interventions and program based on location or other special need
  • identify language and concepts for effective awareness raising and communication.


Associate Professor Peter Simmons  email

Dr Michael Mehmet email

CSU Bathurst

January 2017