The number of shark attacks increased worldwide in 2010. An annual report released on Monday by the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File showed that total reported attacks reached 79 in 2010. This was a 25 percent increase from 2009’s 63 attacks. Of the 79 attacks that occurred last year, 6 were fatal. 36 of last year’s attacks occurred in the United States alone.
Interestingly, the shark capital of the world, Florida saw a reduction in attacks in 2010. They had 13 reported attacks, much lower than their past decade’s average of 23. However, they still led the United States in shark attacks. California had four reported shark attacks in 2010. Other states with 4 attacks were Hawaii and South Carolina. North Carolina reported 5. There were single attacks in Georgia, Maine, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Surfers were attacked in slightly more than half of the cases globally. Swimmers and waders were the second-largest affected group, making up 38 percent.
File director and shark expert, George Burgess, said "The reality is, going into the sea is a wilderness experience. You’re visiting a foreign environment — it’s not a situation where you’re guaranteed success."
Burgess advises common sense measures to avert shark attacks: avoiding fishing areas and inlets where sharks gather, and leaving the water when a shark is sighted.
To put things in perspective, Burgess pointed out that while sharks claim an average of five human lives a year, fishing fleets kill somewhere between 30 million to 70 million sharks a year. Some are caught by mistake; others are hunted for their fins, which are used in Asia for an expensive soup.