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Most shark attacks, Sunday, new moon

June 7, 2010 at 12:31 AM   |   Comments

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., June 7 (UPI) -- A surfer is most at risk of a shark attack if it is Sunday during a new moon, is in shallow water and is wearing black and white, U.S. researchers found.

University of Florida researchers analyzed statistics from 231 shark attacks that occurred in Florida's Volusia County -- also known as the "Shark Attack Capital of the World" -- from 1956 to 2008.

George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, says the researchers also spent one year observing people between Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach.

"It's basically an analysis of why, where and when in an area that traditionally has had more shark-human interactions than any other stretch of coastline in the world," Burgess says in a statement. "One of our students, Brittany Garner, essentially camped out there, counted the number of heads on the beach and took photographs."

The 47-mile-long section of beach had as much as 21 percent of all global shark attacks from 1999 to 2008.

The researchers say the sharks don't prefer weekends -- more shark attacks occurred on Sunday because there are more people in the water. The phase of the moon is linked to the tides and the black-and-white bathing suits may attract sharks because sharks see sharp contrasts best, the researcher says.

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