Fatal Shark Attacks See Disturbing Uptick

Shark attacks increased significantly in 2023, according to recent data. The University of Florida, which keeps the world’s only record of global shark attacks, said that both attacks and fatalities hit a new high last year. The university’s data reveals that there were 69 unprovoked shark attacks in 2023, higher than the previous five-year average of 63. Of these, ten were fatal, double the amount in 2022. Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program, said, “The fatalities are a bit unnerving this year.”

Most of the fatal attacks occurred in Australia, home to large numbers of Great White Sharks and Bull Sharks. These sharks are considered the most dangerous and most likely to attack humans. While just 22% of attacks took place in Australia, 40% of these resulted in death.

More than half of the global shark attacks in 2023 took place in the United States, with Florida in the lead with 16 episodes in total. Others took place in California and Hawaii, where there were two fatalities.

There were a further 22 attacks worldwide, but these are excluded from the data because they were not considered “unprovoked” but a response to human activity. Spearfishing is named as the primary cause of “provoked” reactions from the animals.

A fatal attack in the US took place in Hawaii on the final day of the year, December 31, off the coast of Maui. Police pulled the 39-year-old victim, Jason Carter, ashore and performed life-saving measures before transporting him to the hospital, but he died later the same day.

Florida leads the US in shark incidents, but in 2023, New York saw a distinct rise. In August, a 65-year-old woman was seriously injured on Rockaway Beach, Queens, in the first such incident in the Big Apple since the 1950s. Five people reported bites on New York beaches over the July 4 weekend, all of these on Long Island.