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

Unincorporated Citrus County Residents To Lose Some Recycling Services

Some residents in unincorporated parts of Citrus County will see new recycling rules implemented next week.


Kevlar gloves are used by Gainesville’s Northwest Seafood when filleting lionfish in order to protect against the venomous barbs.

If You Can’t Fight Them, Fry Them

Lionfish are being pushed to Florida menus following August regulation changes on the venomous invasive species’ importation. While dangerous to catch, they are easy to eat as conservation efforts try to save the reefs by increasing demand for the destructive fish.


lionfish

FWC Attempts to Reduce Lionfish Population

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is concerned with the growing population of lionfish, a destructive species of fish. The FWC hopes to start up new efforts to prevent the further spread of lionfish and work on extraction. Extraction [...]


Former governor Bob Graham (left), Jon Mills (center) and David Hart (right) from the Florida Chamber of Commerce discuss how Amendment 1 would affect Florida in front of an audience at Pugh Hall Sept. 4. Graham, a supporter of the amendment, said Florida should be viewed as a treasure to be protected instead of a “commodity,” while Hart said that passing this amendment could cause some serious implications for balancing the state budget.

Natural Resources Amendment Secures Environmental Funding But Raises Concerns

With almost one million signatures from Florida voters, Amendment 1 – also known as the Florida Land and Water Conservation Amendment – will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot, though not all parties are pleased by this development.


Signs like this one show residents of Hawthorne have serious concerns with Plum Creek Timber Company's plans for development in the area.

Hawthorne Residents Voice Concerns With Development Plans

Southeast Alachua County landowners discuss Plum Creek Timber Company’s proposal to develop parts of the city and express their concerns.


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