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Pacific Coast Shark Attacks Up During 2014, 'Three Times' Historic Average

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LA JOLLA, California -- There were 6 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks on humans reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2014. All of the attacks were recorded from California. The attacks were distributed in the following months; July (1), October (4) and December (1). Activities of the victims were; 3 Surfing, 2 Kayaking, and 1 Outrigger. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in all 6 unprovoked attacks. Only two individual's sustained physical injury, both were surfing. The boat incident in November in Central California is not considered in this analysis due to the activity of fishing, which might have attracted the shark to the vessel.

The publication "Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century" authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 6 cases reported for 2014 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21st Century to 83. This is 'three times' the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than 2 shark attack per year during the period 1950 1999. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 73 (88%) of the 83 attacks recorded during the 21st Century. From 2000 to the present, 42 (51%) of the 83 confirmed attacks occurred during the three month period of August (12), September (9), and October (21). There have been 191 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2014. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 167 (87%) of the 191 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 and 5 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2013. The 13 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 191 total cases.

Victim activity for the 83 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 54 (65%) of the documented attacks, with 6 swimmers (7%), 11 kayakers (13%), 4 divers (5%), 4 paddle boarders (5%), 1 windsurfer (1%), 1 shore fishing (1%), 1 Stand-Up-Paddling Outrigger (1%) and 1 boogie boarder (1%). The number of shark-bitten stranded marine mammals reported for the Pacific Coast of North America in 2014 was slightly less than the prior year, especially in Santa Barbara County. This artifact might not necessarily be the result of a decrease in the number of sharks or pinnipeds but rather fewer individuals reporting these events to recognized organizations or individuals. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.

Additional information regarding the Shark Research Committee's Conservation, Education, and Field Research programs is available at: http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

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