Shark Attacks Increase; Humans and Climate Change To Blame, Experts Say

The record for the most shark attacks has recently been broken in 2015, scientists found. According to the study, there were 98 reported attacks last year.

That's an 11 percent increase compare to the previous record in the year 2000 where 88 people have been mauled by sharks, and a 69 percent increase in the past decade. The aggression of the apex predators, however, isn't blamed on the animals but rather on its victims.

Six Countries Have Experienced The Most Shark Attacks In Recent Years

According to scientists, humans encroaching on coastal areas, pollution, and tourism activities like scuba diving and surfing are partly responsible for the shark attacks. 84 percent of these mauling occurred in just six regions: USA, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, the Bahamas, and Reunion.

Of these six territories, the U.S. have experienced more than half of the said attacks with the state of Florida seeing the most aggression. Dredging and pollutants disrupting the sharks' habitat and feeding patterns are reported to play a significant role in these incidents, reported iNews.

The construction of a new port in Recife, Brazil resulted in the sharks being forced to move closer to human territories as their natural habitat has been compromised. "Unprovoked shark bite was virtually unheard of in Recife prior to the construction and operation of the Suape Port," said Blake Chapman and Daryl Mcphee, the researchers who helmed the study.

"However, due to environmental changes displacing local shark species and the presence of increased shipping activity, Recife is now renowned for having one of the highest rates of shark bites in the world," added the researchers. An upsurge in tourism and changing of certain laws also contributed to the rising number of attacks.

Shark Population Increased To Protect Profits Brought By Tourism

In the Bahamas, for instance, the shark population have seen an increase in number after officials placed a ban on commercial shark fishing in 2011 to protect the lucrative venture of shark dives for tourists. While there is no direct data linking the banning to an escalation of shark bites, probability dictates that future attack will be more likely, according to the Independent.

In the Indian Ocean of Reunion, officials were forced to ban swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding on more than half their coast as new regulations on shark hunting resulted to an upsurge of the shark population. Experts also warn that despite rare incidents happening in British waters, the most dangerous areas that attacks are likely to happen are popular destinations among tourists.

The reported attacks in the said six regions have been mainly attributed to three of the most aggressive sharks in the world: the bull shark, tiger shark, and the great white. However, researchers argued that this aggressive behavior is mainly the result of human actions, with the most blame being pointed at climate change.

 

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