Florida tops nation for shark attacks in 2016

Captain Chip Michalove hooked this 3,000 lb. Great White Shark off Hilton Head last Tuesday. Photo credit: Chip Michalove, Outcast Sport Fishing on Facebook

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Unprovoked shark attacks dropped last year after a record-breaking number in 2015.

The International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida said this week that there were 81 unprovoked attacks in 2016, a sharp decrease from the 98 attacks a year earlier. Four of last year’s attacks were fatal, with two in Australia and two in the French territory of New Caledonia.

File curator George Burgess says 58 percent of the attacks worldwide involved board sports. He says surfing, boogie boarding and paddle boarding produce the kind of water disturbance that can draw a shark.

The U.S. led the globe with 53 total attacks. Florida had 32 attacks, 15 of which were in Volusia County. Hawaii had 10, California had four, North Carolina had three, South Carolina had two and Texas and Oregon each had a single attack.

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