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Most of world's shark attacks last year in Florida

A great white shark
A great white shark  


GAINESVILLE, Florida (CNN) -- There were 79 shark attacks worldwide during 2000, the largest annual tally since statistics were first gathered in 1958, according to the International Shark Attack File.

Florida waters hold the dubious distinction of being the place where most of the unprovoked attacks, 34 of them, occurred.

Statistics gathered by the project, housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History, show that since the late 1980s the number of shark attacks "has grown at a steady rate, rising from three in 1988 to highs of 62 in 1994 and 74 in 1995."

The researchers said the number of attacks is likely to increase as people spend more time in the sea.

"The number of shark-human interactions transpiring in a given year is directly correlated to the amount of human time spent in the sea. As the world population continues to upsurge and the time spent in aquatic recreation greatly rises, we might expect an annual increase in the number of attacks," the project notes on its Web page.

The ISAF also noted that its record-keeping has dramatically improved because of the Internet, allowing it to identify and investigate more shark attack reports.

Ten deaths were reported in 2000, the ISAF said. The 12.7 percent fatality rate matched the 1990s decade average. Three fatalities were reported in Australia, two deaths occurred in Tanzania, and single deaths were recorded from Fiji, Japan, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and the United States.

Statistics for the first half of 2001 are not yet available.







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