08 February 2012

Five unprovoked shark attacks and two fatalities in South Africa in 2011

The Ichthyology department of the Florida Museum of Natural History has released the annual International Shark Attack File (ISAF) report. According to the report, the shark-related deaths in 2011 were higher than they've been in nearly 20 years.
The International Shark Attack File investigated 125 alleged incidents of shark-human interaction occurring worldwide in 2011. Out of the 125, 75 of these incidents represented confirmed cases of unprovoked shark attack on humans, a number closely matching the decade average.
The ISAF defines "unprovoked attacks" as follows: "Unprovoked attacks" 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. 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.
Countries with multiple unprovoked attacks include 29 in the USA, 11 in Australia, 5 in South Africa, 4 in Reunion, 3 each in Mexico and Russia and 2 each in the Seychelles and Brazil.
As expected, surfers and others involved in board sports account for about 60% of these unprovoked shark attacks, swimmers account for 35% and divers for about 5%.
12 fatalities resulted from unprovoked attacks in 2011. Australia had 3 shark attack fatalities in 2011 and there were 2 each in Reunion, the Seychelles and South Africa, and 1 each in Costa Rica, Kenya and New Caledonia.
According to the director of the International Shark Attack File, George Burgess, the average global fatality rate for the last 10 years was just under 7%. Excluding the United States, which showed no shark-related fatalities in 2011, the international fatality rate averaged at nearly 25% last year.

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