Vic Ped­de­mors

Shark ecologist

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.