Super Popular Vacation Spot Doubles as the Shark Attack Capital of the World: Report

Shark in the ocean

Throughout the year, Florida is a hot spot for vacationers who want to relax in the sun and swim in the ocean. But according to a 2023 report, it's also the most dangerous place in the world when it comes to shark attacks.

The Florida Museum shared a report recording all the shark attacks around the world in 2023, and out of all the countries, the U.S. came out on top with the most attacks, with Florida being the most prominent state.

Last year, there were 16 unprovoked bites from sharks in Florida, which was the most in the country, while there were reportedly 69 total unprovoked bites worldwide. According to the study, 16 bites in 2023 is lower than Florida's recent five-year annual average of 19.

Going even further, it's Volusia County that has the most bites overall in the state, with 351 total from 1882 until now. Half of the bites in Florida from 2023 occurred in Volusia County, which is located on the east coast of the state, closer to the top.

Luckily, there were very few fatal bites last year and only two in the U.S.—one in Hawaii and one in California. Around the world, there were 10 fatal attacks, with four in Australia, the country sitting right behind the U.S. in total number of unprovoked attacks with 15. The others occurred in Egypt, the Bahamas and Mexico.

Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program, said of the statistics, "This is within the range of the normal number of bites, though the fatalities are a bit unnerving this year."

For those considering an alternative to vacationing in Florida due to the attacks, unfortunately, the state in the second spot is also another vacation hot spot: Hawaii. The state saw eight unprovoked attacks in 2023.

Despite this, unprovoked shark attacks are still very low overall, and researchers shared that very few are fatal because a first bite from a shark is usually a "test bite," meaning they mistook a human for other prey they wanted.

As for recommendations to help avoid a shark attack? Some notes were to stay close to shore, swim with someone else and don't swim around areas where people are fishing or there are visible schools of fish.

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