Close your eyes. Imagine the caress of warm sunrays on your face, the wind in your hair, the saltwater on your lips and the cool water surrounding you. Heaven? For most people it is but for shark attack survivors it was the last peaceful memory the last one they had before they faced what they thought was certain death!
While movies make shark attacks look like sharks are on a feeding frenzy, nonetheless, they do happen although mostly for different reasons such as confusion or when feeling threatened. Where in the world do shark attacks happen?
Well, the main areas where shark attacks have occurred over the years until 2005 according to the ISAF (International Shark Attack File) are: United States of America (continental), England, Asia, Australia, the Pacific Island, Hawaii, the Antilles, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Mexico, Africa, South America and New Zealand.
What are the statistics for shark attacks in these areas? In the continental U.S., the statistics are representing the registered shark attacks since the first fatality which was in 1883 in South Carolina up to 2005 which was in Florida. A total of 234 shark attacks have been registered, 7 of them have resulted in fatalities. The states that have had victims in their waters are: Florida, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Oregon, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey. Shark attacks also have happened in the Open Ocean which is under the law enforcement of the U.S.A. Hawaii has recorded 23 shark attacks, the last fatality being in 2004.
Mexico has recorded 3 shark attacks, two being fatalities. The last fatality happened in 1997. Costa Rica has recorded 2 shark attacks and the last fatality was in 1964. The Antilles have recorded a total of 4 shark attacks, 2 in Cuba where there last fatality was in 1945, 1 in the Virgin Islands which also had their last fatality in 1972 and 1 in St.Martin.
South America has 3 countries that recorded shark attacks from 2000 to 2005 which totaled 22 of them. Brazil alone has a total of 18 and 1 fatality which happened in 2004. Ecuador has recorded 2 shark attacks and Venezuela has 2 as well and their last fatality occurred in 1971.
England recorded 1 shark attack between 2000 and 2005 with their last fatality being in 1968. Africa has recorded 32 shark attacks during this period, 8 resulting in fatalities. The leader of the pack is South Africa with 21 shark attacks, 2 fatalities, and the last one in 2004. Then you have the Mascarene Islands with 5 shark attacks, 1 fatality, the last one being in 1999. Tanzania recorded 3 shark attacks, 3 fatalities and the last one being in 2000. Madagascar had 1 shark attack and the last fatality was in 1955. And you have Cape Verde with 1 shark attack and the last fatality was in 2001. Finally, there is Egypt with 1 shark attack and 1 fatality which happened in 2004.
Asia has recorded 4 shark attacks with 2 fatalities. Both Japan and Thailand had 1 shark attack and 1 fatality, the last one being in 2000. India had 1 shark attack, the last fatality being in 1956. And South Korea had 1 shark attack as well with no fatal shark attacks.
Shark attacks around Australia for that same period had 47 recorded, 9 fatal shark attacks, the last fatality being in 2005. New Zealand had 1 shark attack during this time and the last fatality was in 1968.
And finally, you have the Pacific Islands which recorded 12 shark attacks and 4 fatal shark attacks. Papua New Guinea 3 shark attacks, 1 fatality and their last one being in 2000. Fiji Islands have recorded 4 shark attacks, 2 fatal shark attacks and the last fatality was in 2003. Marshall Islands recorded 2 shark attacks with no fatalities. Vanuatu recorded 1 shark attack with 1 fatality which happened in 2005. Kiribati recorded 1 shark attack with no fatalities. And Solomon Islands have recorded 1 shark attack with no fatal shark attacks between 2000 and 2005, the last fatality being in 1963.
As you can see, while a lot of people heard rumors about the high possibilities about being victim of a South African shark attack, there is no place in the world that can guarantee you that you will not become one of the stats. I know that a lot of people say that numbers and stats speak volume but still, why take a chance? Just take the recommended safety measures seriously and use them. More than likely you will be able to enjoy swimming, surfing and doing other water activities in seas and oceans without a hitch. Never take anything for granted or think that these things only happened to others. In the same breath, take into consideration the population on this planet and the average of 58 shark attacks a year and compare it to the 100 million sharks that are hunted, slaughtered died in a fishing net and you can ask yourself a question: “Who is the most likely to become victim of the other?”
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