15 February 2013

South Africa: Four shark attacks resulted in three fatalities in 2012

The Ichthyology department of the Florida Museum of Natural History has released the annual International Shark Attack File (ISAF) report. According to the report, 118 alleged incidents of shark-human interaction occurred worldwide in 2012. 80 of the 118 incidents represented confirmed cases of unprovoked* shark attack on humans. The 38 incidents not accorded unprovoked status in 2012 included 16 provoked attacks, eight shark-boat interactions (motorised and non-motorised vessels), five incidents regarded as not involving a shark ("doubtful"), one "air-sea disaster," three "scavenge" incidents involving post-mortem bites, and five cases in which available evidence was insufficient to determine if an unprovoked shark attack occurred.
Most shark attacks occurred 2012 in the United States. A total of 53 alleged incidents of shark-human interaction were reported. Australia ranked second with 14 attacks, four attacks took place in South Africa, three in Reunion and one in Indonesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Tonga and on the Canary Islands.
Globally, seven fatalities resulted from unprovoked attacks in 2012. Three of the seven occured in South Africa, two in Australia, one in the United States (California) and one on Reunion.
The four attacks in 2012 in South Africa equal to the country's past ten-year average of four attacks, while the three fatalities were higher than its recent yearly average of one per year. Within the past ten years South Africa has had years with as many as eight attacks (2010) and four fatalities (2009) but also a year (2006) with not a single reported attack.

*"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.

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