Brevard, Volusia Beaches ‘Shark Attack Capital of the World’

By  //  May 5, 2013

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eight attacks recorded off the Space Coast

(ABOVE VIDEO: weshtv)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brevard County Fire Rescue reported a shark attack yesterday at about 11 a.m. on a teen male off Melbourne Beach. Fortunately, the bite caused only a minor ankle injury. The Space Coast beaches, combined with neighboring New Smyrna beach, has been called the “shark attack capital of the world,” as it has more recorded incidents per square mile than any other beach in the world with 210 attacks between 1882 and 2008. 

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida had more than twice as many shark attacks as any other state last year according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File report released this week.

The 1975 Steven Spielberg film “Jaws,” has been cited for villifying sharks, particularly great white sharks. (Universal image)

Of the 26 shark bite victims in Florida in 2012, eight were recorded off the Space Coast.

In addition to the 26 attacks in Florida, other attacks were: 10 in Hawaii, five in California, five in South Carolina, two in North Carolina, and one each in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Puerto Rico. There were seven fatalities worldwide, which is lower than 2011 but higher than the yearly average of 4.4 from 2001 to 2010.

The report cited 53 shark attacks in the U.S., the most since 2000, mainly because of more people hitting the beaches. Florida has seen the most shark attacks in the world between 1990 and 2007 with 397 – and 4 fatalities.

MOST BITES MINOR

Surfers experienced a majority of shark incidents with 60 percent, largely due to the provocative nature of the activity, according to George Burgess, director of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. (flmnh.ufl.edu image)

New Smyrna beach has been called the “shark attack capital of the world,” as it has more recorded incidents per square mile than any other beach in the world with 210 attacks between 1882 and 2008. However, most bites are minor – and none of these attacks have been fatal.

Off the Space Coast, there has been 90 attacks between 1882 and 2008. Brevard County’s beautiful beaches, which include world famous Cocoa Beach, Jetty Park and Klondlike Beach are less than an hour drive from Orlando and Disney World.

Surfers experienced a majority of shark incidents with 60 percent, largely due to the provocative nature of the activity, according to George Burgess, director of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. Swimmers were affected by 22 percent of attacks, followed by divers, with 8 percent.

Dr. Steve Badolato

“I have managed many surf related injuries, including, on more than one occasion, a surfer that was bitten by a shark,” said Dr. Steve Badolato.

(Space Coast Medicine & Active Living image)

“I treated a patient who presented with a large bite to the foot resulting in a noteworthy injury with complications requiring stitches, surgery and antibiotics. This patient’s encounter was fairly typical of most shark bites while surfing. In most situations the shark’s reputation is far worse than his bite,” said Dr. Badolato.

MISTAKE IDENTITY

According to the International Shark Attack File, by far the most common bites on surfers are “hit and run” attacks which typically occur in the surf zone. The victim rarely sees the shark, and after inflicting a single bite or slash wound it usually will not return.

According to the International Shark Attack File, by far the most common bites on surfers are “hit and run” attacks which typically occur in the surf zone. The victim rarely sees the shark, and after inflicting a single bite or slash wound it usually will not return. (flmnh.ufl.edu image)

These attacks are frequently the case of mistaken identity. It is suspected that upon biting, the shark quickly realizes the surfer is a foreign meal and immediately releases. Shark bites are rare, and, as in this case, the injuries are mostly confined to the leg below the knee and seldom life threatening.

In the case of a shark attack, researchers advise taking a proactive response, such as hitting the shark’s nose, since they respect size and power.

“Shark attacks are rare and it doesn’t matter whether you call them attacks or bites or bumps – your chances of having any of them are slim,” Burgess said.

For additional safety tips and to view the 2012 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary CLICK HERE.


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One Comment on "Brevard, Volusia Beaches ‘Shark Attack Capital of the World’"

  1. Cindy Wood February 17, 2013 at 12:20 am · Reply

    What color flag does the lifeguard fly for sharks???

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