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from Ananova and The International Shark Attack File Report
Shark attacks fell in 2001, but trend is upward
Story filed: 10:35 Tuesday 19th February 2002
A study of sharks has shown the number of attacks on humans fell last year.
Worldwide shark attacks in 2001 numbered 76, down on the 85 recorded in 2000. Fatal attacks also dropped from 12 to five.
Overall, the 1990s has the highest report attack totals of any decade, with 536. The 2000 and 2001 totals continue that upward trend.
The figures were revealed by the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File. They have been surprising given the high level of publicity surrounding a spate of shark attacks last year.
As in recent years, the bulk (82%) of attacks occurred in North American waters, including 55 off the US, four in the Bahamas, two off Mexico and one off Cuba.
Elsewhere, attacks occurred in South Africa (4), Australia (3), Brazil (3), the Cape Verde Islands (1), the Marshall Islands (1), Mozambique (1), and New Zealand (1).
Surfers were the recreational user group most often subjected to shark attacks, with 35 incidents, or 49% of cases.
According to the university's shark attack centre, based in Gainesville, the number of attacks occurring in a given year is directly correlated to the amount of time humans spend in the sea.
"As the world population continues its upsurge and interest in aquatic recreation concurrently rises, we realistically should expect increases in the number of shark attacks and other aquatic recreation-related injuries," says the report.
Copyright © 2002 Ananova Ltd
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