Shark Attacks Decline in Midst of Economic Recession

Gainesville, Fl. – The recession may be responsible for a slump of a different sort: an unexpected dive in shark attacks, says a University of Florida researcher. Shark attacks worldwide in 2008 dipped to their lowest level in five years, a sign that Americans may be forgoing vacation trips to the beach, said George Burgess, ichthyologist and director of the International Shark Attack File, which is housed at UF.

SharkAccording to the latest statistics released today, the total number of shark attacks declined from 71 in 2007 to 59 in 2008, the fewest since 2003, when there were 57, said Burgess, who works at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “I can’t help but think that contributing to that reduction may have been the reticence of some people to take holidays and go to the beach for economic reasons,” Burgess said. “We noticed similar declines during the recession that followed the events of 2001, despite the fact that human populations continued to rise.”

Editors Note: The all-time high number of attacks, 79, occurred in 2000. Due to that spike in number of attacks, there were alarmist claims that shark attacks were on the rise. You don’t hear that now. The truth is that the most important factor in shark attacks rising is more people spending more time in the water.

Source: University of Florida News, February 2009.

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