Report Shows United States is Far Away the Worldwide Leader in Shark Attacks | Surfers Most Likely to be Attacked

SwellBrains | | SurfSurf
Sharing the waves… Credit: Club Ed Surf School

The International Shark Attack File is exactly what it sounds like; an annual report on how many people were attacked, where in the world and by what kind of shark, reports

The Florida Museum of Natural History puts the file together, and bless them for doing so. Hard numbers are much better than anecdotal hunches about shark attacks.

Surfers way more likely to be attacked than swimmers/divers. Credit: Thomas P Peschak/NHM

Anyway, let’s get to the details:

  • First, the US is far and away the worldwide leader in shark attacks. 53 unprovoked attacks last year, 60 percent of the planet’s total. Australia were second, with only 14 attacks and 1 fatality.
  • Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, had three attacks, but two deaths. South Africa, two non-fatal attacks. Strangely, New Zealand had the same amount of attacks, one, as Egypt.
  • Worldwide, there were 88 attacks and five fatalities, inline with historical averages.
  • US breakdown: Florida alone seeing more than double Australia’s attacks, with 31. South Carolina had the second highest number of attacks, 10. Hawaii had 6 and California had 2.
  • Some 59 percent of shark attacks last year involved surfers. Swimmers and divers were far lower, at 22 percent.
  • Bodysurfing, oddly enough grouped with “horseplay” in the study, is down at the bottom with three percent of attacks.

“The number of human-shark interactions is directly correlated with time spent by humans in the sea,” says the report.

The authors also insist that while attacks are predicted to increase because more and more people are spending time in the ocean than ever before, fatality rates have been declining for years.

Billions of people splashing around in the seas each year, only 88 attacks. Turns out though that it isn’t sharks we should be worried about, it’s mosquitoes. This tiny insect kills more people in a single day than sharks have killed all century.

shark, surf, mosquito
I don’t care what your stats say, I’d still rather come face to face with a mosquito than a great white. Credit: WHO

Check out the full report, here.

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