Are shark attacks against humans increasing off the coast of California?

by on October 25, 2012 · 0 comments

in California, Environment, History, Popular

With this latest fatal great white shark attack up in Northern California earlier this week, another one at that same beach exactly two years earlier, and what with that deadly attack up in Solana Beach in 2008, does it seem that shark attacks against people are increasing?

Well, according to the California Department of Fish and Game, the answer is “no”. Here is what their website says:

While they don’t typically prey upon humans, white sharks do pose an extreme threat if you meet them on their “turf”, or maybe in this case “surf.” Since 1950, there have been 95 white shark attacks on humans in all of California. Of those, 11 have now been fatal.

 In April, 2008 a swimmer was attacked and killed off Solana Beach in San Diego County. Only 20 of the 95 shark attacks on humans in California have been south of Point Conception within the past 57 year period.

It is important to note that even though human use of the water over the years has greatly increased due to the growing human population and the popularity of surfing, swimming, and scuba diving, white shark incidents have not increased in a parallel manner. (Our emphasis.)

Here are some nifty charts and points to consider, all from that same DFG website:

Shark attacks over the decades

According to this chart, shark attacks are actually decreasing when considering the earlier decades’ numbers.

Shark attacks by County

San Diego County stands at being tied for 4th place for most shark attacks. Those northern counties get the most attacks: Marin, San Mateo, Monterey and Sonoma.

Shark attacks by human activity

Surfing by humans definitely stands out as the human activity that has suffered the most in shark attacks.


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