09 February 2011

South Africa: Eight unprovoked shark attacks & two resulting fatalities in 2010

According to researchers from the University of Florida/International Shark Attack File (ISAF) sharks launched 79 unprovoked attacks* on humans in 2010 worldwide (in total: 115 alleged incidents of shark-human interaction) and six people died from the attacks during the year (the 2001-2010 yearly average was 4.3). These unprovoked fatalities occurred in South Africa (2), USA (2), Egypt (1) and Australia (1). Surfers (50.8% of cases) and swimmers  and waders (37.7%) were most often involved in shark attacks in 2010. Less affected were snorkelers and divers (8.2%) and those using inflatable rafts and inner-tubes (3.3%).

32 of the 79 unprovoked attacks occurred in North American waters, 14 off Australia and eight in South African waters.
The 36 incidents not accorded unprovoked status in 2010 included 22 provoked attacks, 3 cases of sharks biting marine vessels, 4 incidents dismissed as non-shark attacks, 5 "scavenge" incidents involving post-mortem bites, and 2 cases in which insufficient information was available to determine if an unprovoked shark attack had occurred.
The 2010 yearly total of 79 unprovoked attacks was higher than the 2009 numbers (63 unprovoked attacks) and the highest since the 80 attacks in 2000. [src.: ISAF 2010 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary]
btw: Humans kill 30 million to 70 million sharks per year in fisheries!

* "Unprovoked attacks" in this case are defined as incidents where an attack on a live human by a shark occurs in its natural habitat without human provocation of the shark, while incidents involving sharks and divers in public aquaria or research holding-pens, shark-inflicted scavenge damage to already dead humans (most often drowning victims), attacks on boats, and provoked incidents occurring in or out of the water are not considered unprovoked attacks.

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