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Researcher: 8 Unprovoked Shark Attacks Along U.S. Pacific Coast In 2011; Attacks Trending Up

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LOS ANGELES, California -- Shark attacks are still trending up for the U.S. Pacific Coast according to new statistics released today by the Los Angeles-based Shark Research Committee. According to Ralph Collier, who heads research for the Shark Research Committee, the average number of attacks in the first ten years of the new century are more than five times higher than the annual average number of attacks for the previous century. There was one more unprovoked shark attack in 2011 than in 2010 and 2009.

The text of the Shark Research Committee news release follows:

There were 8 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2011, which includes 1 special case. There were 5 attacks, including the special case, recorded from California and 3 from Oregon. The attacks were distributed in the following months; June (2), September (1), October (3), November (1), and December (1).

If the Southern Santa Barbara County line is used as the division between Southern and Central California, in 2011, 2 of the reported attacks occurred in Southern California, including the special case, with the remaining 3 North of the division line. In regards to the Oregon shark attacks, 2 occurred at Seaside and 1 near Newport. Activities of the victims were; 6 Surfing, 1 Kayaking, and 1 Diving (special case). The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in 7 of the attacks, with a Broadnose Sevengill Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus, implicated in the special case.

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 8 cases reported for 2011 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21st Century to 64. This is 'more than five times' the 20th century annual average of slightly more than 1 shark attack per year. The great white shark was implicated in 55 (86%) of the 64 attacks recorded during the 21st century. From 2000 to the present, 32 (50%) of the 64 confirmed shark attacks occurred during the three month period of August (10), September (9), and October (13).

There have been 172 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2011 . The great white shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 149 (87%) of the 172 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 with 4 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2011. The 12 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 172 total cases. Victim activity for the 64 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 45 (70%) of the documented attacks with 5 swimmers (8%), 5 kayakers (8%), 4 divers (6%), 3 paddle boarders (5%), and 1 boogie boarder (2%).

The number of adult, sub-adult, and juvenile great white sharks observed in Southern California during 2011 was less than that reported in 2010. There were anomalous oceanographic conditions during 2011, which might have been contributory to this absence. The number of stranded marine mammal carcasses reported, specifically their location and time of year, would seem to support this reduced number of shark observations. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.

Additional information regarding the Shark Research Committee's conservation, education, and research programs is available at:

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