The International Shark Attack File for 2018 reports on the investigation of 130 alleged shark-human interactions.
The study classifies shark attacks as either “unprovoked attacks” or provoked attacks”
“Unprovoked attacks” are defined as incidents where an attack on a live human occurs in the shark’s natural habitat with no human provocation of the shark.
“Provoked attacks” occur when a human initiates interaction with a shark in some way. These include instances when divers are bitten after harassing or trying to touch sharks, attacks on spearfishers, attacks on people attempting to feed sharks, bites occurring while unhooking or removing a shark from a fishing net, etc.
In summary 2018 is reported to have a significantly lower than average number of unprovoked shark attacks. The US was reported having the largest number of unprovoked attacks in 2018, with one fatal incident,
Florida maintained its normal trend with the most unprovoked shark attacks. Shark attacks in Florida represent 24% of the total unprovoked shark attacks, worldwide. However, its 16 unprovoked attacke was significantly lower than its five-year average of 30.
Shark incidents with surfers accounted for 53% of the total cases , swimmers and waders 30% and scuba divers 5%.
The 2018 shark attacks stats can be seen as a significant improvement given the fact that more of us are spending time in the sea.
The number of human-shark interactions is strongly correlated with time spent by humans in the sea. As the human population continues to expand and as interest in outdoor aquatic recreational activities increases, the incidence of shark attacks is expected to rise. Improved global communications between ISAF, scientific observers and beach safety organizations as well as increased coverage of sharks in the media has heightened public awareness of shark-related issues. This has led to an improved accounting of human-shark interactions.