Published on Thursday, February 8, 2018

Florida leads US states in shark attacks

Florida's coastline again recorded the highest number of unprovoked shark attacks last year in the US, but it was just an 'average' year, according to the University of Florida International Shark Attack File.

There were 88 reported attacks globally with five deaths.

In the US 53 attacks were recorded but thankfully there were no fatalities for the second year in succession.

"It really was just an average year, and significantly, the US saw no shark attack fatalities for the second consecutive year. While we don't put too much emphasis on year-to-year changes, a slight increase is expected as beach tourism and water sports gain in popularity and as has been the case for years, Florida saw more attacks (31) than any other state," said Lindsay French who manages the shark attack database.

Two shark attack deaths were recorded in Reunion Island, along with one in Australia, Costa Rica and Cuba.

Australia had the second highest number of attacks with 14, while the Bahamas, Indonesia, and South Africa each recorded two non-fatal shark attacks.

"The hotspots we're keeping an eye on are Ascension Island, which had its first attacks since the 1800s, and Reunion Island, which had two of last year's five fatalities," French said.

French says the boom in water sports activities worldwide encroaches on the sharks' natural habitat with nearly 60% of all shark attacks involving board sports.

"We need to remember we're going into a shark's natural habitat when we enter the water. Water sport activities often unintentionally attract sharks because of splashing, paddling, kicking, and wiping out."

Elsewhere in the US, there were 10 reported shark attacks in South Carolina, six in Hawaii and two in California.

Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia each recorded one.


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