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Saturday April 20, 2024

Shark bites and deaths up even as species faces crisis

Three of the deaths happened off the coast of southern Australia in a region called the Eyre Peninsula

By AFP
February 06, 2024
A frame grab on January 29, 2024, shows an adult great white shark filmed off the California coast near Santa Barbara. — AFP
A frame grab on January 29, 2024, shows an adult great white shark filmed off the California coast near Santa Barbara. — AFP

WASHINGTON: Shark bites and fatalities ticked up worldwide last year, with Australia accounting for a disproportionate number of deaths resulting from heightened contact with humans even as the ancient predators face a wider extinction crisis.

There were 69 unprovoked attacks in 2023, up slightly from 63 in 2022, and ten deaths, which is double the year before and a 12-year-high, according to the International Shark Attack File, an annual global report published Monday by the University of Florida.

Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Programme for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History who co-authored the study, told AFP that the uptick didn´t mean sharks were becoming more numerous or fierce.

Three of the deaths happened off the coast of southern Australia in a region called the Eyre Peninsula, where a rebounding seal population has brought great whites into closer proximity to surfers in a remote region.

“If you get nobbled by a white shark you´re probably not going to have all of the helicopters being able to be there within five minutes and stretchers and all the medical infrastructure,” he said.