GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — University of Florida researchers say far fewer shark bites were reported worldwide last year.
According to the university’s International Shark Attack File, 66 bites were documented in 2018, compared with 88 the previous year. That’s 26 percent lower than the five-year average of 84 bites annually. Thirty-two bites happened in U.S. waters.
Four of last year’s bites were fatal, roughly keeping with the average of six deaths worldwide each year.
In a statement Monday, Gavin Naylor of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program said it’s unknown whether the drop can be attributed to more people heeding beach safety warnings or to declining shark populations.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
- Where you're most likely to catch COVID: New study highlights high-risk locations
- Reporter is hit by car on air, striking a nerve with TV journalists
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
- You had breakthrough COVID. Can you start living like it’s 2019?
- McConnell: Black people vote at similar rates to 'Americans'
Naylor said beachgoers need to learn about shark behavior in areas such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where great white sharks have followed a rebounding seal population.