International Shark Attack Report Released

Written by on February 12, 2013 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law, Sharks

The University of Florida‘s International Shark Attack File report was released yesterday. According the report, worldwide fatalities remained average but the U.S. experienced the highest number of incidences since 2000.

“The numbers from an international standpoint were on target for the last couple of years because, in theory, each year we should have more attacks than the previous year owing to the rise of human population from year to year,” explained George Burgess, director of the file at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida (UF) campus. “Thus the shark attack rate is not increasing even though the number of shark attacks is rising. Shark attack as a phenomenon is extremely uncommon, considering the millions of hours humans spend in the water each year.”

The facts:

  • Seven fatalities worldwide – less than 2011 but more than the average of 4.4 from 2000-2010
  • 53 attacks in the U.S. – the most since 2000
    • –23 in Florida
    • –10 in Hawaii – highest since 2007
  • Four attacks in South Africa – three fatalities
  • 14 in Australia – two fatalities
    • –Five in Western Australia
  • 60% of shark incidents involved surfers
  • 22% involved swimmers
  • 8% involved divers

“We could reduce risks by avoiding areas and times when sharks are most common, and where danger is at its highest,” Burgess said. “A perfect example of that is in Western Australia, where people have been getting hit in areas of known white shark abundance at times of year when white shark numbers are at their highest – the responsibility is upon us, as humans, to avoid such situations or else pay the consequence.”

“Shark attacks are rare and it doesn’t matter whether you call them attacks or bites or bumps – your chances of having any of them are slim,” he said.

Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas).

Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas). Photo credit: AlKok via photopin cc.

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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