Shark attacks increased around the world in 2021 after three consecutive years of steady decline.
No, the sharks weren’t scared of COVID-19. But a huge part of the decline was beach closures in 2020, which may make the numbers seem more dramatic than they are, researchers say, per ABC News.
- Researchers recorded 73 unprovoked attacks worldwide, compared to 52 in 2020 the lowest in more than a decade, according to a new report by International Shark Attack File.
- The U.S. reported the most amount of attacks with 47, which is 64% of the worldwide incidents.
- Florida accounted for 40% of unprovoked bites in the world. The state has been leading the statistic for decades.
- Australia reported the second most unprovoked attacks with 12 last year.
- A single fatality from a shark bite occurred in the U.S. in 2021 in California. A man was attacked while boogie boarding in Morro Bay on Christmas Eve.
“Shark bites dropped drastically in 2020 due to the pandemic,” said International Shark Attack File manager Tyler Bowling, per CBS News. “This past year was much more typical, with average bite numbers from an assortment of species and fatalities from white sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks.”
Per the report, sharks have limited color perception and spatial resolving power that is “considerably worse than humans.” This is why white shark attacks against humans are often a result of mistaken identity.