Shark attacks remain rare: say experts

Shark attacks remain rare: say experts

Despite growing population of great white sharks and the attack on a swimmer by a shark in southern California on the past Saturday, researchers believe that such attacks are rare.

As per the Shark Attack File prepared by the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were a total of 106 confirmed, unprovoked attacks, including 13 fatalities, by great white sharks between 1916 and 2011. Of those, 78 attacks and 8 fatalities occurred off California coasts.

But, experts still believe that shark attacks are extremely uncommon, and in many cases are provoked to attack.

In wake of the most recent attack on a 40-year-old swimmer by a great white shark in southern California, Tobey Curtis, a shark researcher at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, insisted that it was an "extremely" uncommon. While George Burgess, the director of shark research at the Gainesville-based Florida Museum of Natural History, said the shark was "provoked" to attack.

Defending great white sharks, Burgess said, "That one in California was what we call a provoked attack, because there was human provocation involved. In this case humans are the villains, not the shark."

The shark in question was reportedly hooked by an angler at the time of the attack. Burgess argued that any animal that was fighting for its life must be irritable and could not be blamed for attack.

Most recent estimates suggest that there are more than 2,000 great white sharks along the California coast. Conservation efforts started by the government in the 1990s played a key role in helping these sharks flourish.

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