Shark Attacks Remained Low in 2019 – But Bites From the Elusive Cookiecutter Were Up (Florida Museum of Natural History)

Shark Attacks Remained Low in 2019 – But Bites From the Elusive Cookiecutter Were Up

Shark attacks were unusually low for the second year running, with 64 unprovoked bites in 2019, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File. The total was roughly in line with 2018’s 62 bites and about 22% lower than the most recent five-year average of 82 incidents a year.

While the number of shark attacks can vary from year to year, Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program, said the recent decline may reflect changes in the migration patterns of blacktip sharks, the species most often implicated in Florida bites.

In a historic first, the elusive, foot-long cookiecutter shark was responsible for three of 2019’s attacks. All three bites were on long-distance swimmers training in Hawaii’s Kaiwi Channel at night.

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