Australian citizens have been advised to rename the phrase "shark attack" as a "shark interaction" in order to remove the negative stigma surrounding sharks who - while they might seem scary in Steven Spielberg's Jaws movie - don't actually attack humans that often.

Last year, there were just thirteen shark-related deaths in Australia - a number that is quite low compared to the millions of people who take a swim in the country's waters each year.

According to UNILAD, authorities in Australia have started to tell people to refer to encounters with sharks as "interactions" or, if something bad does happen, to label it as a "negative encounter."

An official from New South Wales' Department of Primary Industries said in a statement: "NSW DPI is respectful that each incident is best described by the individual involved. DPI generally refers to 'incidents' or 'interactions' in our formal shark reporting."

Scientists believe that the word "attack" and "bite" misrepresents the beautiful creatures, and this then makes people less likely to want to protect them.


"It helps dispel inherent assumptions that sharks are ravenous, mindless man-eating monsters," said Leonardo Guida, a shark researcher at the Australian Marine Conservation Society to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Nathan Hart, associate professor at Macquarie University, exclaimed similar thoughts, saying: "Sharks don't have hands so, if they want to explore something, they mouth it. Very rarely are humans consumed by sharks."

The earliest fossil evidence for sharks or their ancestors are a few scales dating all the way back to 450 million years ago, so they have little familiarity with the concept of a human.

There's even a Facebook page called "Bite Club's Facebook," started by Australian Shark Attack survivors who are available to speak to when someone's experienced an 'encounter' with a shark.

The group has 411 Australian members and states: "This group has been started by Australian Shark Attack Survivors AKA 'Bite Club.' We are trying to spread the word that we are available to speak, message email, etc other survivors and the families of victims of shark attacks."

"We have found in our own experiences that we can help each other through the hard times," the post continued.

"We are also willing to share information with all people who are interested in the devastating effect an attack can create and the inspiring stories of survivors who have overcome the adversary of an attack and have become inspirational to those who know them."

So, while some parts of Australia are more than ok with trying to help our shark friends get rid of the names we've created for them... some are yet to jump on board after continuing to suffer from their own "interactions" with the creatures.