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

This octagon-based receptacle, which looks as if its been opened, sits in front of Dragonfly Sushi in downtown Gainesville. Morgan Kalish, a downtown worker, smokes a cigarette as he walks by it on Monday morning.

Cigarette Receptacles Making Impact Downtown

The local Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is seeing success after the installation of more than two dozen cigarette receptacles in the downtown area. The program hopes to expand into midtown, despite vandalization by the homeless.


Skeletonization of a Gainesville air potato leaf shows why the air potato beetle is considered one of the most successful biocontrol approaches in recent decades compared to other projects — current or past.

Plant-Eating Beetle: Cheapest Way To Kill Weeds

The FWC has seen recent success in controlling invasive plants that overrun Florida with the use of air potato beetles, and other beetle species.


Cedar Key School’s Future Farmers Of America Chapter Fights Local Hunger

Students from Cedar Key School, a public K-12 school, vow to fight hunger in Levy County by cultivating land at the school to provide fresh, healthy food. The school donated 7,000 pounds of fresh food to the Cedar Key United Methodist Church Food Pantry.


The town’s water tank lies behind a barbed chain link fence in the forest, across from Otter Creek Baptist Church. When the water is stored, the contaminants accumulate because it sits in the pipes and doesn’t circulate.

Water Contamination Problems Persist In Otter Creek

Otter Creek’s search to buy land acquisition with a source of clean water may lead to an end to the town’s ongoing water-contamination issues.


Withlacoochee River and Dunnellon Trail Bridge.

Long-Awaited Dunnellon Blue Run Trail Extension Under Construction

Dunnellon is using funds from a Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant to finish a section of path that connects the Dunnellon and Blue Run trails. The trail will now fully support hiking, jogging, biking and rollerblading after its expected completion in December.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments