[Gainesville, FL] Sharks are finally exacting their revenge on humans, according to the University of Florida’s (UF) recently released International Shark Attacks File.
No wonder – we kill 30 to 70 million sharks per year in fisheries, according to the “File.” And now they are striking back, attacking us when we are most vulnerable – when we are swimming. That is also their only option.
Last year, the were 75 shark attacks worldwide, which was close to the average. But apparently, the sharks are more likely to kill nowadays, as 12 of those attacks were fatal.
Paging Steven Spielberg.
But fear not Floridians – and Americans for that matter – all of the fatalities occurred outside the U.S., in remote areas. What about tourists visiting the U.S., you say? I don’t know about you, but I can smell a tourist from a mile away – especially if they are French or Italian – don’t you think a shark can do the same?
Over the past 10 years, the average worldwide fatality rate was 7% of attacks. Last year that number jumped to 16%. If you subtract the non-fatal American shark attacks, that rate leaps to 25%.
Yes, you are reading that right – 1-in-4 people attacked by sharks not in American waters is dead.
This shark will only nibble on you if you’re an American or in American waters
Almost as if the sharks are trying to tell us something. Either they really like us Americans or they really hate the taste of high fructose corn syrup.
“We had a number of fatalities in essentially out-of the way places, where there’s not the same quantity and quality of medical attention readily available,” said ichthyologist George Burgess, director of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus.
“They also don’t have histories of shark attacks in these regions, so there are not contingency plans in effect like there are in places such as Florida,” he said.
Yes, he just said the F-word. Florida (and the rest of the U.S.) has actually seen “a five-year downturn in the number of reported attacks,” according to the data.
Historically, Florida is no. 1 when it comes to attacks, especially Volusia County, which led the state this year (again) with six attacks. But that is the lowest number of attacks going back to 2004.
“It’s a good news/bad news situation,” Burgess said. “From the U.S. perspective, things have never been better, our attack and fatality rates continue to decline. But if it’s a reflection of the downturn in the economy, it might suggest that other areas have made a real push to get into the tourism market.”
The 2011 Worldwide Shark Attacks Summary may be viewed online at www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/isaf/isaf.htm.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Lead image: StormyDog