Significant drop in number of shark bites reported worldwide in 2018
Unknown whether decrease due to people heeding safety warnings or declining shark populations
66 bites were documented in 2018, compared with 88 the previous year. Photograph: iStock
Researchers at a university in the United States say far fewer shark bites were reported worldwide last year.
According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, 66 bites were documented in 2018, compared with 88 the previous year.
The figure is 26 per cent lower than the five-year average of 84 bites annually. Thirty-two bites happened in US waters.
Four of last year’s bites were fatal, roughly keeping with the average of six deaths worldwide each year.
In a statement, Gavin Naylor of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research programme said it is unknown whether the drop can be attributed to more people heeding beach safety warnings or to declining shark populations.
Mr Naylor said beach-goers need to learn about shark behaviour in areas such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where great white sharks have followed a rebounding seal population.–PA