Shark Attacks Continue To Rise

The latest numbers show sharks took a big bite out of swimmers and surfers in 2010, but the so-called “shark attack capital of the world” saw a big decline in attacks.

The University of Florida’s annual report on unprovoked shark attacks tracked a 25% increase in US waters. The worldwide total reached its highest level since 2000, with six fatalities. One of those fatalities occurred in Florida waters, which actually proved safer than they have in years.

George Burgess/UF shark expert: “Florida was way down; only 13 attacks in Florida this year. Traditionally, Florida has way more attacks than any place in the world, so it was an up year in the world, a down year in Florida which runs contrary to recent trends.”

The Sunshine State still led the US in overall attacks, despite seeing totals fall more than 40% from its average over the last decade. Experts blame the oil spill in the Gulf and the economic downturn for keeping tourists away from Florida beaches.

George Burgess/UF shark expert: “The continued downturn in the economy probably affected tourism and possibly the pocket books of residents in terms of the number of trips they wanted to make for holidays.”

Yet researchers say as world populations rise, trends show that the average amount of yearly attacks is going up every decade.

via University of Florida (video available at UF’s site)


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