"It looks like a cross between Home and Away and Jaws, it's just another film about a shark stalking some people.' Photo: Photographer: Ben Timony
A Queensland marine scientist says B-grade horror films contribute nothing to the debate on shark attacks.
Bond University Associate Professor Daryl McPhee believes that, with attacks increasing worldwide, serious debate is needed.
"The image of sharks in the media is usually an omniscient killer epitomised by Jaws and that dreadful movie coming out called Bait," Professor McPhee said.
"It looks like a cross between Home and Away and Jaws, it's just another film about a shark stalking some people."
Professor McPhee is to address a community forum at Buderim, on the Sunshine Coast, on Tuesday night to share findings of his own research and raise questions with locals.
Three factors could be behind the rise in shark attacks, he said, citing human population growth, the protection of shark species and a boom in fur-seal populations.
"Human population growth is important, but whether this actually translates to more people being in the water is debatable," Prof McPhee said.
Australia has been protecting the Great White Shark for over 15 years but their exact numbers are still uncertain.
Numbers of fur seals, part of the Great White's natural diet, have been rising since they were protected.
"Whether this changes shark feeding patterns is not known," Professor McPhee said.
Drum lines and shark nets may not be good at stopping sharks, he said, because attacks are still happening on protected beaches.