The great white shark may be a fearsome predator, but in 2014, the number of shark attack deaths actually dropped. While this statistic belies the headline, experts believe in the long run that world shark attacks are on the rise, and Australia’s beaches have also been emptying out ever since great white shark attack videos went viral on the internet.
According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File report, the number of recorded unprovoked shark attacks in 2014 is listed as 72, while 2013 was slightly higher, at 75 shark attacks. The good news continues, since only three shark attack deaths were listed for all of 2014.
Unfortunately, the United States still leads, with Florida being the shark bite capital of the world. Shark attacks also happened in Hawaii, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, but none of these U.S. shark attacks were fatal. While this might be attributed to good luck, it’s because smaller shark species are unlikely to kill as their bigger brethren.
“Most of them are better called bites than attacks,” Shark Attack File curator George Burgess told the Sun-Sentinel. “They’re the equivalent of dog bites.”
Now for the bad news. Five shark attack deaths in Australia have been recorded since last April. The number of worldwide shark attacks have been increasing over time.
“The number of worldwide unprovoked shark attacks has grown at a steady pace since 1900, with each decade having more attacks than the previous. The numerical growth in shark interactions does not necessarily mean there is an increase in the rate of shark attacks; rather, it most likely reflects the ever-increasing amount of time spent in the sea by humans, which increases the opportunities for interaction between the two affected parties.”
Perhaps for this very reason, many people are choosing to empty out of Australian beaches due to the fear of a great white shark attack. For example, Bateman’s Bay experienced a 30 percent decrease after a shark attack killed a humpback whale in the area. Western Australia’s south coast suffered a 21 percent drop after a great white shark video went viral after a diver posted it.
Shark Attack File also notes that “Australia’s 11 attacks was lower than its 12.5 attacks per year average over the past ten years (2004-2013) and the two fatalities [in 2014] were in line with its 1.5 yearly average over the same time period.” As you can see, the number of shark attack deaths in Australia are already higher than usual considering it’s just the beginning of 2015.
[Image via the Guardian]