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Shark attacks were up in 2021 and the pandemic could be to blame

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Researchers with the museum’s  International Shark Attack File (ISAF) recorded 73 unprovoked shark bites and 11 fatalities, nine of which were unprovoked, in 2021. There were also 39 provoked shark bites during the same time span, they said.

That was a big increase from the 52 unprovoked attacks recorded in 2020, the lowest number in over 10 years.

“Shark bites dropped drastically in 2020 due to the pandemic,” ISAF Manager Tyler Bowling said in a press release. “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.”

Most shark attacks occurred in either Florida or Hawaii or California.

Shark fatalities are decreasing overall, according to the ISAF. Possibly because of improved safety guidelines at beaches and fewer sharks along the coast.


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