Shark Attacks in the US

Are you frightened by the latest news about shark attacks in the US? Even the celebrations for the 4th of July were overshadowed by the incident at Surf City, when a 32-year-old soldier was bitten by a shark. The increased number of incidents creates tension among US citizens, who would like to enjoy their beach time without thinking about possibilities of such attacks. This fact will calm you down: Since the 1950s, the probability of suffering a shark attack on California beaches has declined by over 90%. Since these events have a low possibility of occurring, you should be more worried about drowning. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the sharks: they are here and they are dangerous.

Statistics: Where Do Sharks Want to Hang Out?

Florida’s beaches are really dangerous. The number of fatal attacks is relatively low: 11. However, the number of total attacks in Florida (717) is the highest one in the US. Hawaii is the second state on the list – the number of overall shark attacks is 136; 9 of them were fatal. This was where the last recorded shark attack in the US occurred. 65-year-old Margaret C. Cruse was killed by a shark while snorkeling in April 2015. The overall number of attacks in California is lower – 114; but the number of deaths is 10. The list continues with South and North Carolina, Texas, Oregon, and New Jersey. These numbers may seem scary, but don’t let the anxiety prevent you from enjoying the ocean. Marine ecologist Francesco Ferretti said that “a shark attack here is really a low probability event – you really have more of a chance to win the lottery than being bitten by a shark.”

Why Do Sharks Attack People?

Can’t they limit their food choices to fish and other residents of the ocean? Apparently, people are quite attractive for a hungry shark. The massive heat wave that occurred in mid-June this year is one of the possible reasons for the increased frequency in East Carolina of attacks. The warm weather attracted a great number of sharks to that area. Combine that fact with the massive flow of people on the beaches, and you’ll understand the recent incidents. George Burgess, the director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of National History, named fishing piers as another possible reason for the increased frequency of attacks. People who swim close to these areas that attract sharks are exposing themselves to great risk. Mexico’s National Fishing Institute is investigating a rather morbid reason for the incidents: maybe sharks are developing a taste for humans.

How to Prevent Shark Attacks

The most important thing is to stay close to your group. Avoid swimming alone in shark-infested waters. A shark is more likely to attack you if you are alone. Remember: stay away from fishermen’s areas. The smell of places where people attract fish and clean their catch are very appealing for sharks. You injured yourself on the beach and you’re bleeding? Do not get into the water! Even a minor cut puts you at risk, since a shark can easily sense the blood from several feet away. These animals are mostly active during twilight hours and at night, so try to avoid getting into the water during these periods. If you happen to spot a shark from a distance, it is very, very important not to panic. Remain calm, quiet and still as much as possible. If you notice that the shark is approaching, swim as quickly and quietly as possible towards your group. If the shark marked you as prey, try to back up against rocks, boat, reef, or any other structure in your proximity. Hitting the shark on the tip of its nose is another way of forcing the shark to retreat. Hopefully, the animal won’t come that near for you to rely on that desperate method.

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