This U.S. State Is The Shark Attack Capital Of The World
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This U.S. State Is The Shark Attack Capital Of The World

Since Jaws first appeared on the silver screens in the 1970s, swimmers have been afraid of sharks in the ocean. While sharks aren't the natural serial killers that movies make them out to be, shark bites do happen, and they happen at a higher rate in one place than anywhere else.

If you live in Florida, then you're at a higher risk of getting bit by a shark — at least statistically. Volusia County in Florida is the shark attack capital of the world. The Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File found the state was home to the most unprovoked shark attacks in the world.

Specifically, Volusia County for some reason. Since 1882, there have been 351 attacks in the county. Meanwhile, Brevard County had 158 attacks, and Palm Beach had 83. According to the organization, Unprovoked bites "are defined as incidents in which a bite on a live human occurs in the shark's natural habitat with no human provocation of the shark."

Shark Attacks in Florida

If you're wondering what month is worse, then it's September. Late summer and fall is common for shark attacks in Florida. In 2023 alone, there were 36 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. Australia follows as the country with the second most shark attacks. It had 15.

"Beach safety in Australia is second to none. They're fantastic," said Joe Miguez, a doctoral student in the Florida Program for Shark Research. "However, if you go to remote regions where beach safety isn't in place, there is a higher risk of a fatal shark attack. This is because when an attack happens and there is beach safety, you can get a tourniquet on sooner and save the person's life. So, the solution isn't to not surf. It's to surf in areas where there's a good beach safety program in place."  

Typically surfers are at a higher risk of getting shark bit. They account for 42% of victims. "If a white shark is going after a seal and the seal knows it, the white shark hasn't got a chance," Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History's shark research program, said. "Seals are really agile, so the only ones that get caught are the ones that are goofing off and flopping around on the surface minding their own business. And that's kind of what a surfer looks like." 

Florida had more attacks than any other state with 16 shark attacks in 2023.