Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World shark attacks dipped in 2005, part of long-term trend

14.02.2006


Assertive and even aggressive human behavior could explain why shark attacks worldwide dipped last year, continuing a five-year downward trend in close encounters with the oceanic predators, new University of Florida research suggests.



Greater safety precautions and in-your-face responses to confrontations with sharks went a long way in reducing the total number of attacks from 65 in 2004 to 58 in 2005 and fatalities from seven to four, said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File housed at UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History.

In contrast, there were 78 shark attacks — 11 of them fatal — in 2000, the all-time high record year for attacks since statistics were kept, he said.


There also were simply fewer sharks to attack people, a result of a decline in populations caused by overfishing of the carnivorous creature, which generally is slow to reproduce, Burgess said.

“It appears that humans are doing a better job of avoiding being bitten, and on the rare occasion where they actually meet up with a shark, are doing the right thing to save their lives,” he said.

In one such case, a surfer bitten by a great white shark off the Oregon coast on Dec. 24 had the presence of mind to drive it away with a well-timed punch to the nose, he said.

“That gentleman did precisely what he should do under those circumstances,” Burgess said. “A person who is under attack should act aggressively toward the shark and not follow the advice given to women who are having their purses snatched in New York City, which is to lie on the ground, play dead and give up the purse.”

Despite the worldwide decline, the number of attacks in the United States rose slightly, from 30 in 2004 to 38 in 2005. But that is still considerably lower than the recorded high of 52 in 2000, he said.

The same pattern emerged in Florida, the U.S. shark attack capital, where the number of attacks increased from 12 to 18 but was still well below the 2000 record of 37, he said.

The 2004 numbers were the lowest in more than a decade, however, and were probably due to Florida’s unusually active hurricane season, which kept people out of the water, he said.

In addition to last year’s 38 U.S. attacks, Burgess tracked 10 in Australia, four in South Africa and one each in the Bahamas, St. Martin, Mexico, Fiji, Vanuatu and South Korea.

Compared with previous years, the number of attacks in Australia was relatively high last year and in 2004, when there were 12, prompting some people to call for the installation of nets to barricade sharks from beaches, Burgess said. But the per capita rate of shark attacks has not risen over the past century, with apparent increases coinciding with a rise in population and Australia’s growing attraction to tourists in recent decades, he said.

The number of shark attacks at any particular time depends on a variety of factors, including oceanographic and meteorological conditions, abundance of prey items, and very important, the amount of time people spend in the water, he said.

“We need to remember there have been huge changes in how humans use the water over the last 20 to 30 years,” Burgess said. “When our parents and grandparents went into the water, they maybe wiggled their toes, or if they were very daring, jumped in and swam. People of our generation are surfing, diving, sail boarding, scuba diving, skin diving and engaging in all kinds of activities.”

Of this year’s four fatalities, two were in Australia, one in the Indo-Pacific island of Vanuatu and one in the United States.

The U.S. attack occurred June 25 along Florida’s Gulf Coast, when 14-year-old Jamie Daigle was attacked by a bull shark while swimming off Sandestin. It was the state’s first death from a shark attack in four years. Two days later, also in the Florida Panhandle, 16-year-old Craig Hutto lost his right leg to a shark while fishing in waist-deep water off Cape San Blas.

Five of the state’s 18 shark attacks last year occurred along Florida’s Gulf Coast, which is a greater proportion to the Atlantic coast than previous years, Burgess said. “It’s unusual to have only 13 attacks on the state’s eastern coast,” he said.

Elsewhere in the United States, five attacks occurred in South Carolina, four each in Texas and Hawaii, three in California, two in North Carolina and one each in New Jersey and Oregon.

Surfers were the most frequent victims, accounting for 29 incidents, followed by swimmers and waders, 20, and divers, four.

George Burgess | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>