The International Shark Attack File released their report for 2021 back in January of this year. It’s always interesting to review the data and dive in a bit.
The report, or at least the summary, focuses on “unprovoked bites”. Here are some definitions:
“Unprovoked bites” are defined as incidents in which a bite on a live human occurs in the shark’s natural habitat with no human provocation of the shark.
“Provoked bites” occur when a human initiates interaction with a shark in some way. These include instances when divers are bitten after harassing or trying to touch sharks, bites on spearfishers, bites on people attempting to feed sharks, bites occurring while unhooking or removing a shark from a fishing net and so forth.
Shark Attack File at a Glance: 2021
The number of unprovoked shark attacks for 2021 (73) was right on track with the averages over the 5 year span from 2016 – 2020 (72). As you can imagine, the number of incidents was quite a bit lower in 2020 and attributed to the pandemic lockdowns.
Activity at the time of Unprovoked Shark Attack
Surfers and those participating in board sports are frequently the most common group of individuals involved in these shark-human accidents. This is likely because of the amount of time they spend in the surf zone. This area of the coast is frequented by sharks. In addition to the amount of time spent there, the splashing, wading, and falling off the boards are probably attracting the sharks interest. Here’s the data showing the water activity people were involved in at the time of the shark attack.
Shark Attack File: Incident Location
Where these shark attacks occur is certainly worth looking at. The United States clearly takes the leader spot in 2021, as it usually does. It accounts for over half of all unprovoked shark attacks worldwide. Australia is a distant 2nd, but does account for 1/3 of all fatalities. Beyond that, the number of attacks is almost negligible. Here’s a look at that data.
|Locality||Unprovoked Bites||Fatal Shark Attacks|
|St. Kitts and Nevis||1||0|
Florida accounts for 60% of the US shark attack totals (28/47) and actually nearly 40% of attacks worldwide (28/73)! This is also very consistent with the annual averages measured over the last 5 years. Hawaii comes in 2nd with 6 out of the 47. Neither state had any fatalities. The only fatality in the US was in California.
Check out more details of the International Shark Attack File 2021 Annual Report on the Florida Museum Website.