WUFT News

Shark attacks increase in US

By and on February 13th, 2013

Last year, 26 shark attacks were reported in Florida.

There were 53 total shark attacks reported in the United States, which is the highest number since 2000, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File report released on Monday.

Out of the 53 attacks in the U.S., 10 were in Hawaii, five each in California and South Carolina, two in North Carolina, and one each in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Puerto Rico, said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File.

Burgess added that of the 80 attacks worldwide, one person died in California and six others died elsewhere. Surfers accounted for 48 of those attacks, while swimmers accounted for about 18.

Burgess said the increase doesn’t mean sharks are becoming more aggressive or that people should be afraid to go in the ocean.

Considering the hundreds of millions of people who swim in the oceans, he said, seven deaths is not an overwhelming amount.

“The chances of you meeting a shark and dying are extremely small,” he added.

Burgess said Florida typically accounts for more than half of the attacks because of its increasing population and huge coastline.

For Joseph Grant, a surfer and FreeRide Surf and Skate Shop employee in Gainesville, surfing with sharks is part of the excitement.

Grant said that during a few surf sessions last year in New Smyrna Beach, he saw spinner sharks jump out of the water, spin and dive back into the depths.

“I’ve had a few that have jumped within five or 10 feet of me, which is exciting to say the least,” he said.

Grant, 23, said good surf could outweigh a potential hospital visit.

“If it just bit me and left some puncture marks, and I had superglue in my truck and the waves were good, I would just glue it up myself, maybe try to wrap it, and go back out and surf some more,” he said.

Burgess said if someone is worried about getting bit by a shark to avoid going in water where birds are diving, where people are fishing, and where there are steep drop-offs. He added that people should stay in groups, too.

“There’s a reason why fish are found in schools,” he said.

Burgess said the most effective place to hit a shark is its nose because it’s a sensitive area.

“Generally speaking, if you can pop it on the nose, the shark will veer away and have a newfound respect for you,” he said.

While a shark attack is a natural phenomenon, Burgess said the real story is what humans can do to reduce attacks on sharks.

He said fisheries killed about 40 million to 70 million sharks last year.

“The seven deaths we had last year, which were a little higher than usual, compared to the number of sharks we kill is amazing,” he said. “You have a 10 million to 1 ratio of who’s killing who, and we know who the aggressor is in that relationship.”

 


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Gores Landing Wildlife Management area is a popular place for turkey hunters to visit during the turkey season in March. Photo courtesy of Greg Workman.

Flooding Disrupts Hunting During Spring Turkey Season At Gores Landing

From March 16-29, a large portion of McLemore Road on Gores Landing WMA is closed due to recent rainfall and flooding conditions. Unfortunately for hunters, the closure of the road in this typical turkey habitat overlaps with the spring turkey hunting season, from March 21-29.


A Florida Forest Service wild land firefighter conducts a prescribed burn to reduce wildfire risks in the Okeechobee district.

Intentional Fires Stimulate Environmental Growth In Alachua County

In efforts to promote a healthy forest ecosystem, burners at the Welaka State Forest and Etoniah Creek State Forest have been busy creating prescribed burns. The planned fires help to reduce potential fuel for unplanned forest fires and cycle nutrients back into the forest.


burmesefeaturedimage

Workshop Sparks Debate on Dangers of Burmese Pythons

Florida wildlife officials have boosted their efforts against Burmese pythons by inviting the public to join the fight, but some researchers and breeders disagree on the severity of the python problem.


Small lopsided fruit from greening-infected citrus tree. Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS.

New Funds Help UF/IFAS Fight Citrus Greening In Central Florida

University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences was awarded about $13.4 million to help fund four research projects aimed at finding a solution to citrus greening.


nonnativefishphoto1

FWC Hosts First Statewide Nonnative Fish Catch

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hosts the first statewide nonnative fish catch. The contest was created to raise awareness and help reduce the growing population of invasive fish species in Florida’s waters.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments