2022 saw the fewest attacks of the last 10 years
Florida is the shark bite capital of the world, a new survey has shown, after 16 attacks were reported there last year.
However, the figures reveal that the number of such incidents worldwide has fallen since 2021 to a 10-year low.
There were 57 unprovoked bites in 2022 – with only 5 of them fatal – while 73 were recorded in 2021, with 9 deaths.
The majority were recorded in the US and Australia, but isolated incidents also occurred in New Zealand, Thailand and Brazil, according to the University of Florida investigation.
The average number of unprovoked attacks each year since 2013 is 74, with the decrease in incidents also indicating a decline in the shark population.
A study published last month revealed that nearly two-thirds of shark and coral reef species are at risk of extinction, with overfishing cited as the biggest threat.
“Deaths are likely to decrease because some areas have recently implemented strict beach safety protocols, especially in Australia.”
The data used to create the International Shark Attack File does not take into account attacks that may have been instigated by human action, whether intentional or unintentional.
This could involve casting a line directly into the shark’s area or throwing ‘chum’ – bait into the water. Indeed, another 32 bites fitting the challenge criteria were reported.
Dr Naylor added: ‘Unprovoked bites give us significantly more insight into shark biology and behaviour.
“Changing the environment so that sharks are drawn to the area in search of their natural food source may prompt them to bite humans when they otherwise wouldn’t.”
According to the researchers, there is a one in 4,332,817 chance that a person will die from a shark attack in their lifetime.
While unprovoked shark attacks are extremely rare worldwide – especially in the UK – they tend to be more common in certain locations.
Last August, the Florida Museum created an interactive map that allows exploring the number of unprovoked shark attacks around the world.
The map revealed that the US is the world’s shark attack hotspot, with 1,563 unprovoked attacks since 1580, followed by Australia (682 attacks), South Africa (258 attacks) and Brazil (110 attacks).
This year was tied with 2020 by recording 52 unprovoked bites worldwide.
The US reported the most unprovoked shark attacks of any country in the world in 2022.
The vast majority were in Florida, and although none of them were fatal in the state, two of them resulted in amputations.
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