Fewer Shark Attacks Worldwide Last Year

It may be safer to go back into the water. According to a University of Florida researcher, the number of shark attacks around the world dipped last year to their lowest level in five years.

The researcher says there were 59 shark attacks last year, compared to 71 the previous year.

George Burgess says there were four fatal attacks in 2008, which is about average. The previous year, just one person died in a shark attack.

Two of last year's deaths were in Mexico, and one was in Australia. The other was in California.

Here in Eastern Carolina there were at least two shark attacks in 2008, one off the waters of Topsail island and the other off Emerald Isle.

Burgess says the decline in the number of attacks may be partly due to the recession. He says fewer people may be vacationing at the beach.

He also points to a sharp decline in shark populations due to commercial fishing.

When sharks do attack, their favorite target is still a surfer. More than half of the attacks involved surfers.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Layla Location: Wisconsin on Jul 5, 2009 at 07:26 PM
    If I ever saw a shark up close and personal, I think I would have a heart attack. No, really! We vacation in the Outer Banks annually, so this is good news and i'm glad I read this article.
  • by voter Location: nc on Feb 19, 2009 at 02:11 PM
    why not dispense welfare checks five miles offshore?
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on Feb 19, 2009 at 01:38 PM
    Hopefully Congress will allot several billion dollars to study just why there are fewer attacks.
  • by T Location: Washington on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM
    I don't think people stayed out of the water more. I have surfed my entire life, and have had my fair share of shark sightings while surfing. Scary, no doubt, but I will continue to surf. My 7 year old son has taken up surfing, and I am very stoked for the little grommit. Sharks, by nature, are not aggressive. They are curious however, and when they sense something out of the ordinary, they will check it out. Simply put, we as humans enter their world when we swim in our oceans, but I think our beautiful NC beaches and oceans should be enjoyed by all. Cannot wait for the summer.
  • by J Location: Gville on Feb 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM
    Because people stayed out of the water more.

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