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  The 2004 yearly total of 61 unprovoked attacks was slightly higher than the 57 unprovoked attacks in 2003 but lower than totals of 63 in 2002, 68 in 2001, and 78 in 2000. Despite the recent yearly declines, the number of unprovoked shark attacks has grown at a steady rate over the past century. Overall, the 1990's had the highest attack total (481) of any decade, and the 2000-2004 totals indicate this decade likely will continue that upward trend.
  The number of shark-human interactions occurring in a given year is directly correlated to the amount of time humans spent in the sea. As the world population continues its upsurge and interest in aquatic recreation concurrently rises, we realistically should expect increases in the number of shark attacks and other aquatic recreation-related injuries. If shark populations remain the same or increase in size, one might predict that there should be more attacks each year than in the previous year because more people are in the water. Shark populations, by contrast, actually are declining at a serious rate or are holding at greatly reduced levels in many areas of the world as a result of over-fishing and habitat loss, theoretically reducing the opportunity for these shark-human interactions. However, year-to-year variability in local economic, social, meteorological and oceanographic conditions also significantly influences the local abundance of sharks and humans in the water and, therefore, the odds of encountering one another. As a result, short-term trends in the number of shark attacks - up or down - must be viewed with caution. Thus, the ISAF prefers to view trends over longer periods of time (e.g., by decade) rather than trying to assign too much significance to often high year-to-year variability.
As in recent years, the majority (44%: 27 attacks) of incidents occurred in North American waters. The 30 attacks in United States territorial waters (including Hawaii) were significantly fewer than totals recorded in 2003 (41), 2002 (47), 2001 (50), and 2000 (50). Elsewhere, attacks occurred in Australia (12), Brazil (5), South Africa (5), and Reunion Island (3), with single incidents reported from the Bahamas, Cuba, Egypt, Fiji,New Zealand, and Venezuela.
 
  There are approximately one hundred reported cases of shark incidents and around five resulting fatalities each year worldwide, though the true figure is likely to be higher since such attacks are bad for tourism and records in third world countries are unreliable. However, this figure is still far less than the number of fatalities ascribed to other dangerous animals such as bee stings, scorpions or crocodiles.
The bottom line is that these animals have an unfairly dangerous reputation - thanks to Hollywood - and your chances of being whacked by a great white are smaller than being killed in a household accident.

  Following recent trends, Florida (12) had most of the unprovoked attacks in the United States. However, this total was remarkably lower than the 2000-2003 average of 33.5 (based on 30 in 2003, 29 in 2002, 34 in 2001, and 37 in 2000). Additional U.S. attacks were recorded in California (6), Texas (4), Hawaii (3), North Carolina (2), Alabama (1), Oregon (1), and South Carolina (1). Within Florida, Volusia County had the most (3) incidents, dramatically down from the 13 reported in 2003, 18 in 2002, and 22 in 2001. This area normally has higher numbers of shark-human interactions as a result of very high aquatic recreational utilization of its attractive waters by both Florida residents and tourists, especially surfers. Other Florida counties having attacks in 2003 were St. Johns (2), Brevard (1), Duvall (1), Lee (1), Martin (1), Palm Beach (2), and Pinellas (1).

 






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