Associate Professor Vic Peddemors leads the Shark Research Group for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, providing scientific leadership for the group’s research and advisory effort.
Across the globe, sharks are increasingly in danger from humans. We slaughter millions of sharks each year through overfishing, by-catch and practices such as finning.
Shark ecologist, Vic Peddemors, explains that through failed understanding of shark behavior and the use of practices that are unsustainable, the apex predator in a fragile ecosystem is now at risk. That risk carries repercussions, with the creatures and plants all the way down to the base of the pile also under pressure.
Vic argues that it’s not humans that need to fear sharks, but perhaps the sharks should fear us.
We are at a critical time in ensuring sharks remain in our oceans to maintain ecosystem balance. In the new age of smart technology, we need to harness the collective ideas and energy to develop new ways to protect humans and sharks from each other.
Vic has over 25 years scientific research experience in Antarctica, Australia, England, Holland, Mozambique and South Africa. His research interests cover a wide range of marine apex predators but have inevitably had an over-riding theme of ensuring human impacts on their populations are sustainable. At the NSW DPI, Vic is also responsible for the scientific component of investigating and managing shark attack and mitigation of these traumatic events.
During the course of his career, Vic has pioneered the use of technological advances in his shark research, whether it be through software development for photo-identification of individual sharks, construction of the world’s first electronic shark repellent, or the potential use of magnets to reduce shark bycatch in fisheries. His experiences have highlighted the requirement to ‘think outside of the box’ when it comes to developing new strategies in dealing with human-shark interactions, whether it be in protecting humans from sharks or sharks from humans.
Vic Peddemors is currently also an Associate Professor of Marine Biology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and is a Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney.