A shark expert reveals how people can survive a shark attack if they ever find themselves.
Shark attacks are rare, Dr. Robert Latour, professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, told CBS News, ‘a person is much more likely to be struck by lightning than by a shark.’
He cited data from the University of Florida that in 2022, there would be 57 unpleasant bites worldwide – significantly lower than the 10-year average of 74 unpleasant bites annually.
But Jeff Corwin, an American biologist and wildlife conservationist, warned: ‘The truth is – when you’re in the water, if you’re in a healthy marine ecosystem… you’re often no more than 100 yards from a shark. .
‘We’re interacting with these species often, and we don’t even know what to do about it.’
Marine biologists advise them to avoid shark attacks
How can I avoid shark attacks?
Before you get in the water, marine biologists recommend scanning for any unusual fish activity, such as lots of small and medium-sized fish jumping out of the water, which could indicate a shark is nearby.
Swimmers and beachgoers should also avoid any areas where people are fishing, deep channels between shorelines, and away from sandbars and estuaries – which are favored by bull sharks.
‘A lot of attacks happen at river mouths, where there is silt and other material in the river – people washing their clothes, people washing themselves,’ suggested Richard Pearce, former chairman of the UK-based Shark Trust and Shark Conservation Society.
Beachgoers should also avoid swimming early in the morning or late at night, Pearce said, explaining: ‘Many shark attacks are mistakenly identified due to reduced detection and detection capabilities on the part of sharks.’
By the same token, Chris Lowe, professor of marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach, said people should try not to wear anything shiny in the water.
“Be careful with jewelry, anything that sparkles because sharks are always looking for fish,” she told CNN.
In murky water, a shark might think a glint is a sign of food, he explained, ‘and you don’t want your hands or feet to get confused by it.’
What should I do if I come in contact with a shark?
Marine biologist Ryan Johnson says the most important thing to do if you find yourself near a shark is not to panic.
‘If you encounter a shark while you’re in the water, the worst thing you can do is act like a victim,’ he told the Daily Star.
The most important thing is not to panic, says marine biologist Ryan Johnson
‘If you act like a victim, they will probably treat you like a victim. Don’t panic, don’t lash out, don’t try to escape,’ he urged.
Instead, Johnson said, ‘You should hold your ground, and 99.9 percent of the time, you’ll have a great time and then it’ll go its way.’
Latour advises you to maintain eye contact with the shark and use a solid object or your hands to block the nose, gills and eyes.
‘If you see the shark before it attacks, position yourself to avoid being bitten on the neck or face,’ he advises. ‘Work to get out of the water as quickly as possible, but don’t swim on your back.’
Other experts recommend that you use a solid object or nearby wall to create a barrier between yourself and the shark and not try to play dead.
Johnson added that being educated about sharks is ‘important’ for ‘everyone who goes into the water’.
‘Then when they start coming in strange places, we know how to respond.’
Where are shark attacks most common?
The U.S. tops the charts for nearly 72 percent of reported unprovoked shark bites globally in 2022.
Of these, Florida accounts for nearly 40 percent of unprovoked attacks in the nation.
Australia ranked second in terms of unprovoked shark bites in 2022, representing about 16 percent of the year’s total.
But it has not reported any shark-related deaths.
Research shows that the US and Australia are major hotspots for vicious shark incidents
Florida is the shark bite capital of the world after 16 attacks in 2022
The total global number of shark attacks last year, however, was lower than the global average of 70 cases five years ago.
The total number in the United States is also down from 47 reported attacks in 2021 last year.
In 2022, there were five fatal shark bites – two in Egypt, two in South Africa and one in Hawaii.