Public perceptions of sharks: Gathering support for shark conservation
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With increasing evidence of the destructive impacts of human activities on the ocean there is a growing call for stronger public engagement in marine governance. An understanding of marine issues and pro-environmental values are key elements that influence an individual[U+05F3]s engagement in conservation and pro-environmental behaviour. This paper presents a study on public perceptions of sharks and shark conservation in the UK. The study investigated knowledge of and attitudes towards sharks of a group of individuals with a clear interest in the marine environment, as well as possible factors that might influence their perceptions of sharks, in order to make recommendations on how to foster engagement in shark conservation. The key finding was that important prerequisites for engagement in shark conservation exist among parts of the UK public. However, this does not seem to be enough to motivate actual engagement. The study discusses a number of specific challenges with regard to sharks which might be influencing the way in which society connects to shark related issues. It concludes with priority recommendations for further investigation into potential catalysts for public engagement in shark conservation. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
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