The meaning given to the human—shark relationship has had a profound impact on shark management and governance for centuries. This connection has been one of great reverence as well as great fear. Local Indigenous fishing activities in the Pacific gave roles of leadership to fishers who swam with sharks (Beckwith, 1917). Rather than a one-way relationship, this worked in both directions, with sharks helping the community. The presence of sharks meant the presence of fish and the survival of the society. However, the more dominant public perception has been one of sharks as a threat to survival, with the rise of recreational water-use and shark bite incidents. The result has been a political tension between public perceptions of sharks, shark bite prevention policies and shark conservation that has implications for shark conservation governance.