Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibility
Close Alert

Shark study: U.S. No. 1 for bites, Florida No. 1 in U.S. in 2021

May, 2021: Massive shark spotted off the coast of Jupiter (@captainjohnmoore)
May, 2021: Massive shark spotted off the coast of Jupiter (@captainjohnmoore)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon

The Florida Museum of Natural History released its International Shark Attack File statistics for last year, and says it investigated 137 “alleged shark-human interactions” worldwide in 2021.

Of those, 73 were unprovoked shark bites on live humans and 39 were provoked bites. Provoked bites are when a human initiates interaction with a shark in some way, not necessarily maliciously.

Four of the remaining cases involved boat bites and one involved shark-inflicted post-mortem bites.

SEE ALSO: Landscaping battle rages between homeowner, association

Five cases were regarded as “doubtful” or incidents that likely did not involve a shark. One case was blamed on a stingray, three were caused by bony fish, and one injury happened because someone scraped against a rock.

The 73 confirmed unprovoked cases lined up close to average when compared to the most recent five-year (2016-2020) average of 72 incidents per year.

There were 11 shark-related deaths and nine of them were considered unprovoked. That’s higher than the annual global average of five unprovoked fatalities.

Narrowing down the numbers, the United States had the most unprovoked shark bites last year. There were 47 confirmed cases. That’s almost two-thirds of the worldwide total, and significantly higher than the 33 incidents in the U.S. in 2020.

Florida had 28 cases in 2021. That’s 60 percent of the U.S. total and 38 percent of unprovoked bites worldwide. Florida’s most recent five-year average was 25 incidents.

Hawaii ranked second with six unprovoked bites, followed by South Carolina with four, and North Carolina and California with three. One of California’s was deadly.

In Florida, Volusia County had the most shark bites by far — 17 — which was almost two-thirds of the state’s total. There were two bites each in Brevard, St. Lucie and Miami-Dade counties, and one bite each in Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, St. Johns and Manatee counties.

By the way, surfers and people participating in board sports were victims of half the total cases. The ISAF says that’s because they spend so much time in “the surf zone, an area commonly frequented by sharks,” and splashing, paddling and “wiping out” can unintentionally attract sharks. Swimmers and waders accounted for most of the remaining incidents.

Still, the number of shark bites is considered extremely low and despite the recent uptick, fatality rates have been declining for decades.

The Florida Museum of Natural History is located at the University of Florida.

Loading ...