Shark Attack Reports of 2015

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If you ever wanted shark stats here they are. What is notable is the total reported shark attacks against scuba divers… Zero.

The International Shark Attack File (ISAF) reported investigating 164 shark related incidents ion 2015. 98 of these were considered unprovoked attacks. Of the 66 remaining attacks, 36 were provoked, 14 involved a shark biting a boat or vessel.

Although a net increase of shark attacks was reported (98 vs 88 in 2000), it is suggested that there was no significant increase in the number of attacks due to the significant growth in human populations and the increased interest in water related activities.

What is notable for us here is that there were 0 reported attacks against scuba divers.

I think the key word here is “reported” as I am sure there are a number of incidents that go unreported. Have you had any shark related incidents as a diver?

Read on for more details below:

The number of shark-human interactions occurring in a given year is directly correlated with the amount of time humans spend in the sea.  As world population continues its upsurge and interest in aquatic recreation concurrently rises, we realistically should expect increases in the number of shark attacks and other aquatic recreation-related injuries.  If shark populations remain the same or increase in size, one might predict more attacks each year than the previous year because more people are in the water.  Shark populations are actually declining or holding at greatly reduced levels in many areas of the world as a result of over-fishing and habitat loss, theoretically reducing the opportunity for these shark-human interactions.  However, year-to-year variability in local meteorological, oceanographic, and socio-economic conditions also significantly influences the local abundance of sharks and humans in the water and, therefore, the odds of encountering one another.  As a result, short-term trends in the number of shark bites up or down must be viewed with caution. Such marked yearly fluctuations in shark-human interactions, be they regional or international in scope, are not unusual.  Thus the ISAF prefers to view trends over longer periods of time (e.g., by decade) rather than trying to assign too much significance to highly variable year-to-year numbers, be they high or low.

In addition to increases in the number of hours spent in the water by humans, the ISAF’s efficiency in discovering and investigating attacks has improved greatly over past three decades, leading to further increases in the number of recorded interactions.  Transfer of the ISAF to the Florida Museum of Natural History in 1988 resulted in greatly expanding international coverage of attack incidents and a consequent jump in the number of documented attacks.  In the early 1990s, the ISAF developed important cooperative relationships with many Florida beach safety organizations and medical facilities, leading to increased documentation of attacks from a region that is a world leader in aquatic recreation.  Fundamental advances in electronic communication (Internet search engines, email, mobile phones, texting, social media), a greatly expanded network of global ISAF scientific observers, and a rise in interest in sharks throughout the world, spawned in part by increased media attention given to sharks, have promoted more complete documentation of shark-human incidents in recent years.  The ISAF web pages, which include electronic copies of the Attack Questionnaire in four languages as well as a wide range of statistics and educational material about sharks, comprises perhaps the most highly accessed shark website on the Internet.  Our strong web presence, including a Facebook page, regularly results in the receipt of unsolicited documentation of shark attacks.  Many of these attacks likely would have been missed in the past because they occurred in communication-poor locales or areas lacking ISAF representatives.

Following long-term trends, North American waters had the most [75: 76.5%] unprovoked attacks in 2015.  The total of 59 unprovoked attacks in the United States (including seven in non-North American Hawaii) set a U.S. standard, surpassing previous highs of 53 achieved in 2012 and 2000 and the 2014 total of 52.  There were no fatalities in North American waters and the single U.S. fatality occurred in Hawaii.  Elsewhere, multiple unprovoked attacks occurred in Australia [18], South Africa [8], and Reunion [4], the Canary [2] and Galapagos [2] islands, with single incidents reported from the Bahama Islands, Brazil, Egypt, New Caledonia, and Thailand.  Australia’s total of 18 unprovoked attacks was its highest total since 2009 (22).  Twelve attacks occurred in New South Wales, two in Western Australia, two in Queensland, and single incidents in South Australia and Victoria; the single fatality occurred in New South Wales….

Read the full article here on the Florida Museum of natural History

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