This paper explores the aftermath of the Jersey Shore shark attacks in the summer of 1916 and how the public’s newfound fear of sharks increased the prevalence of shark fishing for sport and for profit. While current historiography views big game hunters during this period as the founders of the conservationist movement, the rhetoric that surrounded the hunting of sharks provides evidence that shark hunters may have been a notable exception to that claim. Firmly established as monsters that were challenging to catch and kill, sharks became prey that men could hunt as an act to prove their masculinity and connection to nature, but with a more heightened level of malice and violence towards their catch than was typically seen in sport hunting. Through an examination of newspaper articles, fishing columns, scientific journals, and hunting narratives from the time of the attacks in 1916 through the 1940s, this paper outlines the various contexts in which sharks were hunted and how an attitude of anti-conservation was commonly adopted.
"A Shark’s Tale: Anti-Conservation and Fishing for Maneaters in the Wake of the 1916 Shark Attacks,"
Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 4, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarship.shu.edu/locus/vol4/iss1/7