MEMO OF INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE RE: TOOTHY SMILEFISH
Dear Customer Experience/Better Regulation engagers,
We have adopted an evolved way of referring to an interaction between humans and sharks in all our communicatings going forward.
We are no longer using the term "shark attack". It carries non-positive connotations, suggesting we are habitually blaming the shark for being a predator.
The most immediate change is for us to discontinue the term "attack". "Interaction" is to be preferred in the first instance however in the case of an engagement between rows of sharp teeth and soft human flesh the term "bite" is appropriate.
To be clear the ask is for "interaction" or "bite" going forward.
There's no need to include "negative interaction" as this may imply we elevate the anthropocentric perspective. It may not have been enjoyable for the fish, or it may have been. We won't judge.
We also encourage an evolution from the term "shark". This term has over years developed less positive implications, such as usages around "card shark", "shark the footy", "shark tank" and "jump the shark".
Our renaming aims to highlight the appealing side of the animal within a legacy of years when people had reason to fear sharks.
It may be that some still experience fear around shark bite but we can lead them to evolve with our terminology innovations.
We will be engaging closely with bite experiencers, and families of those who unfortunately may not have survived an interaction, around ensuring their wording is consistent in any media comments post-interaction or posthumous.
From deep stakeholder engagement including industry professionals and a scientist the term Toothy Smilefish has been adopted as an ideal meeting of scientific fact and our positive ambition.
After extensive community consultation we will share conclusions recently completed by our communications team, including Toothy Smilefish marketing materials, a schedule for scientific revisions, and FAQs for public-facing engagers.
Going forward, we will hold consultations around the terminology used around crocodiles and their interactions around humans, another relationship which has for too long been driven by concerns around fear of being eaten alive.
If you have questions about this ask, address them to the assistant undersecretary. Given these unprecedented conditions feedback will be read asap after FY22.
Kind regards, etc
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.
Sign up for breaking news emails below: