In the territorial dispute between sharks and humans, the toothy beasts bit off a record in 2015.
Sharks, unprovoked, chomped on humans 98 times worldwide last year, the most since records began 57 years ago, according to data from the International Shark Attack File. The number of attacks broke the previous record of 88 set in 2000.
Most folks in 2015 escaped with injuries, but the vicious fish killed six people worldwide, on par with previous years, said George Burgess, curator of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.
The majority of the attacks occurred in the U.S., which logged a record 59 incidents. Australia recorded 18 attacks and South Africa followed with 8. The previous U.S. record of 53 was set in 2000 and matched in 2012.
The uptick in attacks may be linked to more people spending more time in the sea, giving sharks increasing opportunities to encounter people, Burgess said in a statement. Shark populations — like human ones — are also growing.
Most of the U.S. attacks — 30 — occurred in Florida, where long coastlines and inviting beaches attract both humans and sharks. The Carolinas each logged eight, followed by Hawaii with seven, and California and Texas with two apiece.
“Sharks plus humans equals attacks. As our population continues to rapidly grow and shark populations slowly recover, we’re going to see more interactions,” he said.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice