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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Shark Attacks increase on US Pacific coast

There were 5 unprovoked shark attacks confirmed from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2008, which is slightly more than half of the total number of authenticated shark attacks reported during 2007. The victims were engaged in surfing (2), kayaking (2), and swimming (1).

The fatal attack on swimmer David Martin at Solana Beach in April was the third fatality confirmed for the 21st Century with the prior two occurring in the month of August in 2003 and 2004. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified as the causal species in all five of the attacks verified in 2008.

This brings the total number of authenticated shark attacks along the West Coast during the first 8 years of the 21st Century to 42, ‘more than five times’ the Twentieth Century annual average.

The number of juvenile and adult Great White Sharks observed in the Southern California area during 2008 suggests a possible change in their population dynamics and seasonal site preferences. The number of stranded marine mammal carcasses reported, specifically their location and time of year, would seem to support this observation. The Shark Research Committee will closely monitor this activity in the coming year.

Additional information regarding the Shark Research Committee's conservation, education, and research programs can be found at

We are all aware that the moment we step into the ocean we are no longer the apex predator, we've become part of the foodchain, however, statisically shark attacks are highly unlikely and the more we understand about these animals the more able we are to co-exist.

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