Fewer Sharks, But More Attacks

Growing human presence in water will keep encounters rising, scientists say
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 4:26 PM CST

Shark populations are way down, but attacks on humans are up, LiveScience reports. There were 71 shark attacks worldwide in 2007, continuing a four-year upswing, says shark expert George Burgess, although populations of the fish have shrunk 50% during the past 20 years. Even so, as human populations expand rapidly, so does beach-going—and the chance of encounters spikes accordingly.

"There are more people in the water than there ever have been," Burgess said. "We can pretty much predict that next year there will be even more attacks.” Five incidents have been reported this year, but even if you happen to get bitten, odds are you’ll make it: Advances in medical care have chances of surviving a shark attack at 90%. (Read more fishing stories.)

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