Unprovoked shark attacks have decreased to a 10-year low worldwide in 2022, according to shark watchers.

According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, 57 unprovoked bites occurred in 2022, tying it with 2020 for the fewest number of documented incidences in the previous ten years.

Five of the attacks were fatal, compared to nine in 2021 and ten in 2020.

According to studies, there have been an average of 74 unprovoked bites per year since 2013.

Researchers believe the 2020 low was caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions and beach closures, which resulted in fewer contacts between humans and sharks.

Researchers believe that declining shark populations are one of the likely causes of the low number of bites in 2022.

“In general, the quantity of sharks in the world’s oceans has declined, which may have contributed to recent lulls,” said Gavin Naylor, head of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“It’s possible that fatalities are decreased because some locations, particularly in Australia, have lately instituted rigorous beach safety standards,” Naylor said in a museum news release.

The United States had the most bites, with Florida reporting the most bites of any location on the planet. None of the 16 unprovoked bites in Florida were deadly, but two required amputations.

In 2022, New York reported eight shark bites, while Long Island also had a record amount of attacks. There have only been 12 confirmed unprovoked bites in the state prior to these attacks.

Researchers have discovered that young sand tiger sharks have settled in Great South Bay, which is located between Long Island and Fire Island. The sheltered harbor serves as a shark nursery, and sand tiger sharks, which hunt bait fish in the surf zone, are probably responsible for the bulk of bites on Long Island.

“Every year, the eddies of the Gulf Stream fluctuate. They occasionally have the ability to get quite near to the coast, carrying fish and nutrients. The young sand tigers will follow the fish, which can result in an increase in human contacts “explained Naylor.

Juveniles are more likely to experiment and do things that an adult shark wouldn’t, according to Naylor. “Young sharks, which lack the expertise of adult species, are more likely to mistake a swimmer’s foot for their intended target if fish are extremely thick where people are swimming and visibility is low.”

Only one unprovoked bite death occurred in the United States; it involved a snorkeler who vanished along Keawakapu Beach in Maui, Hawaii.

A single bite happened in New Zealand, Thailand, and Brazil, while there were nine confirmed unprovoked bites in Australia.

Researchers reported two unprovoked attacks in South Africa that were both fatal and probably the work of white sharks.

In the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, where shark bites are uncommon, there were two deadly attacks that day. The attacks, which occurred less than a mile apart, are thought to have been carried out by a single shark.

Your odds of getting bitten by a shark are extremely slim even without the global drop in shark attacks, according to researchers.

The bigger risk is drowning, which is the third most common accidental death worldwide. Rip tides and strong currents can quickly sweep beachgoers away.

Take precautions, such as taking off reflective jewelry and avoiding locations where people are fishing, to reduce your risk of an unprovoked shark bite.

The annual report from the International Shark Attack File emphasizes unprovoked bites more than attacks that might have been prevented by neighboring fishing, chum in the water, or other mitigating conditions.

Unprovoked attacks provide us with a great deal more knowledge about the biology and behavior of sharks, according to Naylor. “Sharks may bite humans when they otherwise wouldn’t if the environment is changed in such a way that they are drawn to the region in quest of their natural food source.”

According to experts, there were 32 more bites in 2022 that were either purposefully or accidentally provoked.


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