Florida Named Shark Attack Capital of the World, Again

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
Florida Named Shark Attack Capital of the World, Again

Florida has once again been named the shark attack capital of both the United States and the world, according to the latest report from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF).

In 2023, the state recorded 16 confirmed unprovoked shark bites — defined as incidents in which a bite occurs without any human provocation of the shark — representing 44% of the total cases in the US and 23% of the global total.

Shark in Florida
A lemon shark pictured during a shark dive off of Jupiter, Florida. The state was once again named the ‘shark attack capital of the world.’

Getty Images

Based on research by ISAF, Florida’s diverse marine ecosystem and subtropical latitude contribute to its popularity for sharks, which move through the waters of its continental shelf feeding off the many types of fish that call those waters home.

Volusia County, particularly the New Smyrna Beach area on the Atlantic coast, is often dubbed the “shark bite capital of the world.” The region is known for its consistent waves, making it a popular spot for surfers who often find themselves in the same waters as feeding sharks.

Shark encounters are extremely rare, but relatively less so in Florida given the popularity of its beaches, which attracted 135 million visitors last year, according to state numbers.

“When there are more attacks, it often means that more people are spending time in the water—not that sharks have become more dangerous,” according to the ISAF report.

Despite what’s portrayed in Hollywood, sharks don’t typically attack humans, and the attacks that do occur are rarely fatal. The vast majority of unprovoked attacks are test bites, which occur when a shark misidentifies a human as its preferred prey. When this happens, according to Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, the shark will typically “swim away after a single bite.”

The U.S. accounted for 36 unprovoked shark bites in 2023, down slightly from 41 the previous year. Over half of the world’s reported incidents occur within U.S. waters, followed by Australia, which reported the second-highest number of unprovoked shark bites with 15 cases, four of which were fatal.

Countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, and the Bahamas have also recorded multiple shark bite incidents, some of which were fatal. The global total of unprovoked shark bites for 2023 was 69, with 14 resulting in death. That marks an increase from the five-year annual global average of six unprovoked fatalities per year.

The report also highlighted the activities that most often lead to shark bites. Surfers and those participating in board sports accounted for 42% of the incidents, while swimmers and waders made up 39%. Snorkelers and free divers comprised 13% of the cases.

“The total number of unprovoked shark bites worldwide remains extremely low,” ISAF officials said.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Read More

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles