Number of fatal shark attacks DOUBLED in 2023 worldwide

06-02-2024 02:34 PM

Ammon News - Scientists have revealed there was an 'unnerving' rise in fatal shark attacks in 2023 worldwide.

Researchers at the University of Florida found deaths due to apex predators doubled, with 10 reported fatalities - up five from the previous year.

Data showed the US had the most unprovoked attacks with 36 that accounted for 52 percent of the worldwide total, but only two were fatal.

The team determined that great whites, tiger and bull sharks killed the majority of swimmers in 2023, but the increased deaths are due to more people being in the ocean each year and a stronger emphasis placed on reporting bites and fatalities.

An unprovoked attack is when a shark attacks a human without provocation, such as the individual unintentionally approaching the shark or swimming or surfing in an area where the shark is preying on fish.

Approximately 16 people endured shark bites in Florida and two were killed in California and Hawaii, according to a report by the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File (ISAF)

There was also one confirmed death each in the Bahamas, Egypt, Mexico, and New Caledonia, and additional attacks in Brazil, the Bahamas and South Africa, in addition to five others.

'This is within the range of the normal number of bites, though the fatalities are a bit unnerving this year,' said Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History's shark research program.

While the three sharks - great whites, tigers and bulls - are know as viscous predators of the sea, the researchers said that their size is why their bites are deadly.

Typically, when a shark misidentifies a human as its prey, it will swim away after a single bite, but because they are larger than other sharks, a single bite can be fatal.

Although the number of fatalities did increase in 2023, marine biologists said the rise in shark attacks is more likely due to population density, and as more people enter the water, the likelihood of someone being attacked by a shark increases.

In Australia, four people were killed in unprovoked shark attacks, and the ISAF noted that the country is known for having a higher population of white and bull sharks.

'Beach safety in Australia is second to none. They're fantastic,' said Joe Miguez, a doctoral student in the Florida Program for Shark Research.

'However, if you go to remote regions where beach safety isn't in place, there is a higher risk of a fatal shark attack.

'This is because when an attack happens and there is beach safety, you can get a tourniquet on sooner and save the person's life.

'So, the solution isn't to not surf. It's to surf in areas where there's a good beach safety program in place,' he said.

Surfers made up the majority of shark attack victims, experiencing 42 percent of bites worldwide, while swimmers and waders accounted for 39 percent of attacks.

The ISAF said there are certain steps swimmers and surfers can take to avoid being bitten, including swimming with a buddy, staying close to the shore, not swimming where people are fishing, and avoiding excess splashing.

Sharks might be drawn to excess splashing, particularly if it's in a single spot, and will want to investigate if there is prey in distress.

It also advises not to swim at dawn or dusk when sharks are most active and feeding and to avoid wearing shiny jewelry because the reflected light may resemble the sheen of fish scales.

Daily Mail

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