Shark Safety Brochure Sparks Concerns

Cape Cod Shark Brochures Sparks Concerns

A Cape Cod shark safety flier has some people concerned for not only local business, but also for the safety of the animals themselves. According to the Boston Herald, 415,000 brochures were printed and distributed to the public to inform visitors and locals alike about sharks, but some are now questioning how much good the brochures will do.

Richard Delaney, president and CEO of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, reportedly had a few concerns regarding the picture featured on the brochure.

“The cover has an extra-mean, toothy picture of a shark,” said Delaney. “It’s one more example of how we, as a society, have this general myth that these guys are big, nasty creatures.”

According to the Cape Cod Times, the brochures were printed with $22,500 from the state Community Innovation Challenge program, “which granted the money last year to a group of Cape towns to raise awareness of sharks and educate the public about safe practices in the event of a sighting.”

The point of these brochures is to educate, not to scare off, and with an image on the front cover that resembles “Jaws,” many are concerned that tourists and even locals may be turned away from the area because of their fear of the sharks. Delaney continued on to state that a few statements within the brochure could also work against their agenda, suggesting that the sentence “The only way to completely rule out a close encounter with a shark is to stay on shore,” be removed.

“That one statement set off some people’s alarms. … It may have gone a little too far by saying don’t go in the water,” Delaney said.

According to MSN, Wendy Northcross, chief executive of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, also has some concerns. “The reality is, we have sharks, and there has to be some public information campaign,” she said. “On the flip side, there’s concern that sharks will be sensationalized or people will want to go on shark hunts.”

“We’re just trying to raise public awareness,” said Nathan Sears, natural resources manager for Orleans, the lead agency in the group. “It’s the reality of what’s happening in our ocean at the moment. From a management perspective, making the public aware of the situation is our biggest tool.”

The Cape Cod shark brochures were reviewed, and other than the “Jaws” picture and the warning to stay out of the water, the brochures reportedly have valuable information that should be shared with the public. According to the Cape Cod Times, the brochures will be made available to the public, but will be “kept behind a desk rather than in public.”

[Image via Shutterstock/Danita Delmont]