Feb 18, 2014 04:38 AM EST
Florida Tops List of Shark Attacks in 2013, Report (VIDEO)
Florida is leading the list of places with highest number of shark attacks in 2013, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File.
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Overall, there were 72 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide with 10 fatalities. The U.S. accounted for 47 attacks in comparison with 54 in 2012.
The Florida state recorded 23 shark attacks followed by Hawaii (13), South Carolina (6) and one each in Alabama, California, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas. Major shark attacks were reported in Volusia County (FL), a historical hot spot that attracts surfers, divers, swimmers, and tourists in large numbers to its gorgeous beaches.
Only one fatal attack occurred in the United State of Hawaii. Western Australia and Réunion Island each witnessed two fatal attacks, while Brazil, Diego Garcia, Jamaica, New Zealand and South Africa detailed one each.
George Burgess, curator of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History UF campus said that the listed fatalities were higher than average even though world registered the lowest number of shark attacks since 2009 (67 attacks).
"When sudden increases in shark attacks occur, usually human factors are involved that promote interactions between sharks and people," Burgess said in a statement. "Shark populations are not in a growth phase by any means, so a rise in the number of sharks is not to blame. However, we can predict with some reliability that shark attacks will concurrently rise with the growth of human populations, a trend we saw throughout the past century."
Burgess blames globalization of modern societies, ease of modern travel, tourism and population growth worldwide for the occurrence of shark attacks in areas unheard before. Reunion Island, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Solomon Island and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean reported shark attacks for the first time in 2013.
As tourists continue to access these areas that have never been populated before, the opportunities for shark-human interaction arise. When a shark attacks in such remote destinations, the consequences are going to be extreme than on a Florida beach because these places are not usually medically equipped to handle serious emergencies.
To reduce fatal accidents related to sharks in Australia, the government has reinstated the government-sanctioned culling hunts for endangered white sharks December.
"Even if one ignores that an endangered species is involved, the archaic reaction can only be characterized as 'revenge killings,'" Burgess said. "Although infrequent, shark attacks are high-profile events that excite the emotions of human beings and often impact a community. Killing 10 sharks after a death is not the answer as it does not result in reduced attacks."