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Shark Attack Numbers in 2020 Were All Over the Place

Attacks were low, but deaths were high
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2021 3:02 PM CST

(Newser) – It's an ominous story with a couple of caveats. The organization that tracks shark attacks around the planet announced on Monday that 2020 was "an unusually deadly year," with 10 fatalities resulting from unprovoked attacks. That's well up from the two logged by the International Shark Attack File in 2019 and four logged in 2018. The annual average is four, per the report from the ISAF. Six of the deaths occurred off Australia, and another off St. Martin's in the Caribbean, reports USA Today. The remaining deaths happened in California, Hawaii, and Maine. Now those caveats: Your odds of being done in by a shark remain extremely low at 3,748,067 to 1—per the ISAF, you're more likely to be killed by a bee or a dog.

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And as far as non-fatal bites go, 2020 ended up on the other end of the spectrum with 57, 33 of which were in US waters; the annual average is 80. The ISAF has a theory: "The observed drop in shark bite incidents may have been caused by the widespread quarantines, closed beaches, and minimized vacation travel in response to the COVID-19 pandemic." It also reported that Florida remains king when it comes to shark bites: The 16 unprovoked bites it recorded last year made up 48% of the US total and 28% of the global total. But that figure is well below the state's most recent five-year annual average of 30 incidents per year. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports one Florida county continues to lead the world. With 8 unprovoked bites last year; Volusia County accounted for 14% of all such bites in 2020. (Read more shark attack stories.)

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