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Shark Attacks


The Relative Risk of Shark Attacks to Humans:
More People Mean More Attacks
Beach Attendance, Rescues & Fatalities (1994-2000)
Florida tourist/resident population vs. attacks
Your Odds of Being Attacked
As the worldwide human population continues to rise year after year, so does our interest in aquatic recreation. The number of shark attacks in any given year or region is highly influenced by the number of people entering the water. Note the nearly identical increase in beach attendance, drowning rescues, and shark attacks on U.S. beaches during the 1994-2000 period.

In Florida, the increases in attendance and shark attacks also mirrored each other, but rescues declined, an indication of a better educated public avoiding the occurrence of rip currents. The trends of attendance and rescues in California are also very similar, but the number of attacks has declined, likely because surfers and divers are taking more care in avoiding white shark "hot spots." One has a far greater chance of drowning than dying by shark attack.


© George H. Burgess, International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida