Miami (EFE) scientist responsible for collecting these data.
In 2020, a year after the pandemic, the figure was also 57, but the average since 2013 is 74 attacks a year, indicates the annual report of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) of the University of Florida. (UF), which is located in Gainesville, in the north of that southern state.
Deaths from those attacks also dropped, from 9 in 2021 to 5 in 2022.
The United States is the country where the most unprovoked shark attacks were recorded last year (43) and Florida the state with the most cases (17) but there was only one death to be regretted, that of a diver attacked at the end of the year on the beach of Keawakapu, in Maui (Hawaii).
Two of the victims of the attacks in the US required amputations.
ISAF mentioned the case of an unprovoked attack by a shark on a woman who was diving last January in Dry Tortugas, in the Florida Keys, and was bitten by a lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris), a shark that “rarely attacks the humans”.
The term “unprovoked attack” means that this type of shark aggression against people “takes place in the natural habitat” of these animals and without “human provocation”.
The ISAF database tracks worldwide shark incidents and highlights in its latest report that most of these were reported in the US and Australia, the second country with nine cases, in addition to unprovoked attacks in New Zealand ( 1), Thailand (1) and Brazil (1).
South Africa reported two attacks, both fatal, probably involving great white sharks.
And two equally fatal attacks occurred in the Red Sea, in Egypt, where “shark encounters are considered rare.”
Less sharks, less attacks
Generally speaking, the number of sharks in the world’s oceans has declined, which may have “contributed” to fewer attacks, said Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Florida.
Naylor told EFE that “half of shark species are in danger of extinction in one way or another, especially and without a doubt due to overfishing,” although the constant increase in beach tourism and aquatic and recreational activities also influences.
Also, it is likely that deaths from shark attacks have decreased because “some areas have recently implemented rigorous beach safety protocols, especially in Australia,” he said.
Although there were fewer shark bites last year, the “increase in incidents at localized sites has aroused concern among residents and government officials in some areas,” the report said.
Thus, New York, especially on Long Island, had a record eight shark bites in 2022, in a single month, confirmed and documented, due to “the confluence of various elements to become the perfect storm,” Naylor said.
One of the factors for the increase in attacks on Long Island could be due to the fact, investigated since 2016, that tiger sharks have settled in the Great South Bay, between Long Island and Fire Island, where, apparently, they find a ” nursery” and are “better protected from predation than in the open sea”.
Naylor opined that most of the bites on Long Island “were probably due to tiger sharks that were drawn to the ‘surf’ zone by the influx of bait.”
Another hot spot is Hawaii, a volcanic island very attractive for its beaches and water sports, but where large sharks are found, just like in Australia, he added.
Without a doubt, the two fatal shark attacks in the Red Sea on January 8 were the ones that grabbed the most headlines. The attacks occurred less than a mile apart (1.6 kilometers) from each other and could have been caused by the same shark.
This shark was initially “misidentified as a shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)”, but it is believed, based on the shape and coloration of the fins, that it could have been a tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier).