Sharks Are More Likely To Attack In The Atlantic Ocean Than The Pacific & Here’s Why
By Kelsey Marie
With summer being in full swing, many travelers are cautious of avoiding possible shark attacks. According to National Geographic, the number of shark attacks has declined in the past few years — which is a great thing.
Interestingly, there has been an obvious difference between recent attacks on the U.S. Atlantic coast vs. the Pacific coast.
Most shark attacks are “unprovoked” which means that a shark bites a person without the person harassing the shark in any way.
According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) — which collects shark attack data globally, a “provoked” attack happens because humans aggravate the shark by doing things such as grabbing them.
ISAF has collected over 6,200 shark-human incident data since 1958 — which includes data going back to the 1500s.
The program manager, Tyler Bowling, tells National Geographic that people aren’t as likely to report shark attacks when they’re from a smaller country because of the limited phone and internet access.
ISAF has stated the reason for attacks to increase is tourism. More people are now visiting the beaches and partaking in water activities.
In 2018, the U.S. had the highest number of reported shark attacks, as reported by ISAF.
Within the U.S., the Atlantic coast had more shark attacks (27) than in the Pacific (3). The director if ISAF, Gavin Naylor says the reason for this is most likely because of the number of sharks in the Atlantic Ocean along with the sharks’ strength and body mass.
Water temperature is another factor in the amount of shark incidents.
Shark expert and director of the Field School in the Bahamas says, “there is a strong correlation with people in the water and the chance they will encounter sharks or really any marine life.”
There are more shark attacks in warmer months because most victims are either swimmers or surfers.
According to National Geographic, the number of shark attacks has gone from 98 reported in 2015 to 66 reported in 2018.
Naylor states that the decline in the blacktop shark population off Florida’s coast could be a contributing factor in this drop.
If you’re worried about getting attacked by a shark this summer, here are some tips on avoiding being attacked:
-Don’t grab or harass sharks
-Avoid swimming at dusk and/or dawn
-Don’t wear shiny jewelry — sharks can get jewelry confused with shiny scales of their prey
-Avoid unnecessarily splashing around in the water
-Do not enter water if you’re bleeding from a cut
-Always swim with another person nearby
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.