Shark attacks drop around the world

Jan. 28, 2004 at 12:22 PM
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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A yearly study at the University of Florida showed that for the third straight year, the number of shark attacks dropped in 2003.

The St. Petersburg Times reported Wednesday that last year there were 55 unprovoked attacks worldwide, down from the 63 attacks in 2002, 68 in 2001 and 79 in 2000.

George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum, said there were four deaths last year, compared with three in 2002, four in 2001 and 11 in 2000.

Burgess said the three-year decline in attacks may be the result of factors that indicate a longer-term trend, such as the possibility there are fewer sharks and people in the water together.

"The first explanation that comes to mind is that there are simply few sharks out there in the water," he said.

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