Shark attack hotspots in the world revealed: interactive map shows areas with the most encounters

Last week, a diver was left “crying for help” after he was bitten by a shark off the coast of Cornwall in the first such attack in British waters in 175 years.

The woman – who has not been identified – was in Penzance, Cornwall, with Blue Shark Snorkel Trips when the accident happened last Tuesday.

While unprovoked shark attacks are extremely rare in the seas around the UK, they are more common in other parts of the world.

The Florida Museum has produced an easy-to-use interactive map that allows you to explore the number of unprovoked shark attacks around the world.

It reveals that the United States is the hotspot for shark attacks in the world, with 1,563 unprovoked attacks since 1580, followed by Australia (682 attacks), the Republic of South Africa (258 attacks) and Brazil (110 attacks).

The Museum of Florida has produced an easy-to-use interactive map based on data from the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) that allows you to explore the number of unprovoked shark attacks around the world since 1900.

While unprovoked shark attacks are extremely rare in British waters, they are more common in other parts of the world.  Pictured: a great white shark

While unprovoked shark attacks are extremely rare in British waters, they are more common in other parts of the world. Pictured: a great white shark

Countries with the highest number of unprovoked shark attacks since 1580

  1. United States of America – 1564
  2. Australia – 682
  3. Republic of South Africa – 258
  4. Brazil – 110
  5. New Zealand – 56
  6. Papua New Guinea – 48
  7. Mascarene Islands – 47
  8. Mexico – 41
  9. Bahamas Carrots – 33
  10. Iran – 23

The interactive map is based on data from the International Shark Attack File (ISAF).

“(ISAF) is the world’s only comprehensive, scientifically documented database of all known shark attacks,” the Florida Museum explains on its website.

“Began in 1958, and there are now over 6,800 individual investigations covering the period from the early sixteenth century to the present.”

A slider at the bottom of the map lets you change the time range from 1900 to 2021, while you can also use toggle switches to select specific types of sharks, and whether attacks are fatal.

You can then explore the number of unprovoked shark attacks around the world by drawing a box around the data points you are interested in.

In 2021, there were 137 alleged interactions between sharks worldwide, according to the International Security Assistance Force.

This included 73 unprovoked bites – those in which a bite occurred on a live human in the shark’s natural habitat – and 39 provocative bites.

The Florida Museum explains: “Of the remaining 25 cases, four involved bites by motorized or non-motorized marine vessels (“boat bites”) and one involved post-mortem bites by sharks (“scavenging”).

Five cases were considered “suspicious” or incidents likely not involving a shark.

“These cases included one case attributed to a stinging ray, three cases attributed to a bony fish and one case of an injury related to a boulder scraping.”

The map reveals that the United States is the hotspot for shark attacks in the world, with 1,563 unprovoked attacks since 1580, followed by Australia (682 attacks), the Republic of South Africa (258 attacks) and Brazil (110 attacks).

The map reveals that the United States is the hotspot for shark attacks in the world, with 1,563 unprovoked attacks since 1580, followed by Australia (682 attacks), the Republic of South Africa (258 attacks) and Brazil (110 attacks).

In Europe, Greece is the region with the highest number of shark attacks since 1847 (15), followed by Italy (13) and Spain (6).  However, only three attacks have been recorded in British waters

In Europe, Greece is the region with the highest number of shark attacks since 1847 (15), followed by Italy (13) and Spain (6). However, only three attacks have been recorded in British waters

Sharks found in British waters

Smooth Hammer Shark – North Atlantic off the western tip of Cornwall

blue shark – 10 miles off the south coast of Cornwall

thresher shark The English Channel off the Devon coast

shortfin mako shark Bristol Canal and off the coast of Wales

burpeagle shark – Most common in the south coast

basking shark – Sea of ​​the Hebrides

Of the 73 unexplained shark bites recorded last year, the vast majority (47) were recorded in the United States, and one proved fatal.

Twelve attacks occurred in Australia, three of which proved fatal.

Meanwhile, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa have had three bites and one death each in 2021, while New Caledonia has reported two incidents, both fatal.

Most bites have been found to be related to the sports of surfing and boarding.

“According to recent trends, surfers and those who participate in board sports account for the most accidents (51 percent of all cases),” the Florida Museum said.

This group spends a significant amount of time in the surf area, an area commonly frequented by sharks, and may inadvertently attract sharks by spraying, paddling, and “eliminating.”

Swimmers and wading account for 39 percent of accidents, with the remaining accidents split between divers/free divers (four percent) and body surfers (six percent).

While these statistics may sound alarming, the Florida Museum maintains that the risk of being bitten by a shark is still very low.

“While the incidence of fatal bites in 2021 was higher than usual, we do not consider this a cause for concern,” she added.

At this time, there is no evidence that the recent rise in deaths is linked to any natural phenomena.

It is even more likely the result of chance, a conclusion confirmed by the fact that the number of unprovoked bites is in line with recent five-year trends.

Last week, the dive was abandoned

Last week, a diver was left “crying for help” after he was bitten by a shark off Cornwall in the first such attack in 175 years – in what the victim described as a “very scary accident” at sea. Pictured: a blue shark

Last week, a diver was left “crying for help” after he was bitten by a shark off Cornwall in the first such attack in 175 years – in what the victim described as a “very scary accident” at sea.

The woman – who has not been identified – was in Penzance, Cornwall, with Blue Shark Snorkel Trips when the accident happened last Thursday.

The unlucky adventurer was swimming 15 miles out to sea during the £180 per person trip when the shark suddenly bit her leg unprovoked.

The swimmer was returned to the chartered boat where she received immediate first aid and was taken ashore for further treatment.

This is the first such attack of sharks in British waters since 1847. Many fishermen have been bitten in recent years but only after bringing sea creatures aboard their ships.

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