Northern California state park officials have announced that a surfer was killed in a shark attack earlier Saturday.
According to The Washington Post, the 26-year-old man endured the attack while surfing off of Manresa State Beach on the northern end of Monterey Bay. A statement released by California State Parks claimed the strike happened just before 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon.
The statement also expressed condolences about the tragedy.
"State Parks expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the victim," the statement read.
Reports have said that the man was ambushed within 100 yards of the coast. Worse, the attack was likely unprovoked, meaning the shark attacked a human in the animal's habitat despite no provocation.
The victim's name has not been released to the public, though the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office has already notified the man's family.
As a result of the sad event, the ocean one mile north and south of the attack has been closed to the public for the next five days. Already, signs had been posted around the area warning civilians about the threat of sharks.
That said, the beach had previously been closed from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in order to deter residents from crowding along the shore and potentially spreading the novel coronavirus.According to Forbes, shark attacks have actually been decreasing in recent years despite the latest tragic event.
"We've had back-to-back years with unusual decreases in shark attacks, and we know that people aren't spending less time in the water," noted Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History's shark research program.
In 2019, there were a reported total of 64 unprovoked and 41 provoked bites worldwide, compared to 62 unprovoked bites in 2018 and a five-year average of 82 unprovoked bites.
The year 2019 also saw two unprovoked deaths due to shark attacks. The fatalities occurred in the Indian Ocean island of Réunion and the Bahamas.
Though there were no deaths in the United States, the country nevertheless claimed the majority of shark bites, with 41 of the 105 recorded bites happening in the U.S. Of those 41 bites, one-third occurred in Florida.
Surfers and other water-sport participants were the brunt of victims in shark attacks, accounting for 53 percent of all cases. Experts have claimed that this is because the surf zone also happens to serve as the "favored stomping ground" of the animals.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that humans and sharks have been in conflict with one another. A recent study suggested that the Great White Shark, arguably the most well-known subspecies, will likely go extinct within the next century due to human pollution and climate change, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.