February 10, 2016
Shark Attack Record: Why Did The Number Of Attacks Increase In 2015?

A new shark attack record has people thinking twice before they hit the beach and venture out into ocean waters. According to Yahoo News, there were 98 shark attacks around the world in 2015.

However, it is the United States that topped the list in attacks by country. There were 59 shark attacks in the United States alone last year. A large number of those attacks were recorded off the coast of Florida – 30 shark attacks happened in those waters. Australia and South Africa also saw a high number of shark attacks last year.

Even with the rise in shark attacks last year, there is a bright side. There were fewer deaths due to shark attacks. Only six individuals died after their shark encounters. One of those deaths occurred in Hawaii.

Why the increase in shark attacks? Are there more sharks in the world's waters? Not exactly. There are more people in the water. That is the problem.

George H. Burgess, the man in charge of recording the number of shark attacks for the International Shark Attack File, shared his thoughts about the increase in shark attacks with RT.

"Sharks plus humans equals attacks. As our population continues to rapidly grow and shark populations slowly recover, we're going to see more interactions. However, year-to-year variability in local meteorological, oceanographic, and socio-economic conditions also significantly influences the local abundance of sharks and humans in the water and, therefore, the odds of encountering one another."
There were more shark attacks worldwide last year. The number of 98 shark attacks refers to unprovoked attacks. The International Shark Attack File investigated 164 incidents in 2015 alone, but the organization discovered that 36 of the attacks were provoked in some way.The increase in shark attacks has prompted warnings for beach goers. IFL Science shared some advice for people headed to the beach and into the water.
"The best advice is to know who is most at risk, and to then be aware and pay attention to your surroundings. Out of the reported incidents in 2015, the majority occurred on those participating in board sports (such as surfing), followed by swimmers, and then snorkelers, while there were zero attacks on scuba divers."
It was also advised that people should avoid swimming at dawn, dusk, or night. It is best to heed all warnings when you arrive at the beach, as well. Signs will be posted near the water if a shark was spotted close to shore that day.During 2015, there were a number of reports about sharks being seen closer to shore. One cluster of sharks off the coast of California was blamed on the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. According to a previous Inquisitr report, a group of 20 sharks was spotted about 100 yards off the shores of northern California. This group of sharks was spotted in October, but a large group of juvenile sharks were also spotted off the coast of Monterey Bay last July.

The California coastline is not the only place researchers have seen more sharks. The waters off the eastern United States have also seen more sharks. According to WFAA ABC, one of the attacks in 2015 was off the coast of New York, and the warmer waters earlier in the season were blamed for that attack. The news outlet also reported that, "A team of federal researchers captured and tagged 2,800 sharks along the East Coast before summer began, recording the highest number in its 29-year history of monitoring the population."

Even with the increase in shark attacks due to the higher population of people and the increase in water temperatures, it is not likely you will die of a shark attack. Christian Science Monitor reported that "people are twice as likely to be killed by a bear or alligator, and 75 times more likely to be killed by lightning."

Will the increase in shark attacks cause you to think twice before you head to the beach this year?

[Photo via Chris Hyde/Getty Images]