More people in and around the water also leads to more dangerous situations with sharks.Image: Cornerstone
The number of unprovoked shark attacks increased in 2023 compared to the previous year. However, it is within the average of the past 10 years, the Florida Museum of Natural History said.
One University of Florida Scientific Database of Shark Attacks Worldwide (ISAF) It confirmed 69 unprovoked shark attacks last year that injured or killed people. In 2022, there were a relatively small number of 57.
Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History's shark research program, said the 2023 figure is within normal bite numbers, although the deaths are “somewhat concerning.” Ten of the unprovoked attacks last year were fatal. The previous year there were five. The probability of being bitten by a shark is still very low.
The majority of attacks last year occurred in the United States (52%) and Australia (22%). Surfers were bitten in 42 percent of cases worldwide. Most shark deaths in 2023 were due to great white shark bites. “If the great white shark was after the seal and knew it, the great white shark wouldn't stand a chance,” Naylor said. “Seals are very mobile, so the only ones who get caught are the ones frolicking on the surface, minding their own business. That's exactly what a surfer looks like.
Sharks are no longer more dangerous
The Florida Museum of Natural History said when there are more attacks, it often means more people are spending time in the water, and it doesn't mean sharks are becoming more dangerous. Increased human activity in sharks' natural habitats leads to increased encounters with the animals.
Over the past few decades, the number of recorded attacks has risen sharply. However, it has fluctuated significantly over the past 10 years: in 2016 there was a particularly high number of 98, and in the pandemic years of 2020 and 2022 there were just 57 – the lowest number in that period. By taking simple precautionary measures, the already low probability of being bitten by a shark can be reduced. The Florida Museum of Natural History said people should stay close to shore, avoid swimming at dawn or dusk and avoid splashing excessively. (Pre/DAP)
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