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Are shark attacks on the rise? Yes. Why 2015 was a record year

Great White Shark © Elias Levy



Shark Updates

Warmer water and more ocean users & sharks mean more encounters

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 10 February, 2016 - More frequently than in previous years, ocean-goers encountered sharks. As more people entered the water to surf, swim, SUP and whatnot, there appears to be a spike in unprovoked attacks.

This week a report was released with a 2015 count of these encounters - 98 in total. Of this total, six were fatal.

Fatalities included a snorkeler in Hawaii, two people in Reunion and the rest in Australia, New Caledonia and Egypt. Totals are according to data submitted by scientists worldwide and reported by Planet Ark.  

George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File said the 98 unprovoked attacks surpassed by 10 the previous record high which was logged in 2000. He added that the increase reflects both more people in the water, and more sharks.

Burgess noted that warmer ocean temps mean attacks are happening in places previously thought to be safe. To illustrate the point, in a rare incident, a New Yorker was attacked while body boarding off Long Island he said.

"We're going to be seeing more bites north of Virginia in the east and California in the west in the years ahead as long as this warming trend continues," Burgess told Planet Ark.

For the United States of America: Florida saw 30 shark attacks while Hawaii saw seven attacks with others occurring in California, Texas, Mississippi and New York. After the United States, Australia and South Africa recorded the next highest number of attacks, at 18 and 8 respectively.

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