US, Global Shark Attacks Hit All-Time High

But shark-related deaths remain steady with 6 in 2015
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2016 8:38 AM CST
A great white shark swims at an aquarium in Japan.   (Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium via AP)
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(Newser) – Scientists' prediction of increasing shark attacks appears to be coming true: There were 98 shark attacks worldwide in 2015—the highest number recorded in the International Shark Attack File's 57-year history, reports Time. The next highest total, 2000's 88 attacks, falls well behind the new record, which doesn't count incidents in which a shark was provoked, say, by a grabby scuba diver. The total is also a leap from 72 attacks in 2014, per National Geographic. A whopping 59 occurred in the US last year—another new record—up from 53 in 2014. Florida counted 30, North and South Carolina each had eight, and Hawaii saw seven. Outside of the US, Australia counted 18 attacks, while South Africa counted eight, reports USA Today.

Starting to panic? There's no need. Just six people were killed by sharks in 2015—a number that experts say has remained constant over the past decade. In comparison, 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. "We can and should expect the number of attacks to be higher each year," but "the chances for any individual who goes in the water surviving have probably never been higher," researcher George Burgess says. While more people in the water is partly to blame for the high number of attacks, Burgess says the increase is also tied to better reporting and 2015 being the hottest year on record. We're now seeing sharks venture into warming waters where they aren't expected, Burgess says, which might explain a single attack in New York last year. (Selfies are actually deadlier than sharks.)

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