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Despite Southern California Great White Shark Attack Caught On Tape, Shark Attacks Are Diminishing

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A Great White Shark (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

A Great White Shark (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

(CBS SF) — Recent shark sightings in Southern California, one of which ended in a great white attacking a swimmer at Manhattan Beach Saturday, is enough of a reason to want to stay dry on shore this summer, but according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History, unprovoked shark attacks — incidents where an attack by a shark occurs in its natural habitat without provocation — are down across California and the U.S.

The 2013 yearly total of 72 unprovoked attacks was lower than the 81 recorded in 2012 and is the lowest global total since 67 in 2009.

Although the number of worldwide shark attacks has grown steadily since 1900, the Florida Museum of Natural History said in a statement on its website that the those interactions do not necessarily mean there is an increase in the rate of shark attacks, “rather, it most likely reflects the ever-increasing amount of time spent in the sea by humans, which increases the opportunities for interaction between the two affected parties.”

During 2001-2013, 477 shark attacks were reported in the U.S. with 62 percent taking place in Florida, and 12 people dying from injuries.

Hawaii ranked second for the most attacks with 65 documented. California came in fourth with 39 reported shark attacks, five of which resulted in fatalities.

San Diego County accounts for the majority of shark attacks in California from 1926-2013 with 17 documented. Two of those were fatal with the most recent occurring in 2008.

Humboldt County came in second place with 15 attacks reported in that same time span, followed by Marin, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties tying in third with 10 attacks each.

More detailed information data on shark attacks in California at the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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