108359806

Photo by: Adam Gault

Adam Gault

Are Shark Attacks on the Rise? Not Really.

By: Discovery

Maine had its first recorded deadly shark attack this week. We talk to experts about what is going on in the ocean and share some tips if you find yourselves in close contact with a shark.

July 31, 2020

Maine had its first recorded fatal Great White shark attack Monday, July 27. As reported by multiple outlets, this attack happened a mere 20 yards from the shore of Bailey Island off the Atlantic coast of Maine. The last attack in the state’s waters was 10 years prior, when a camera man was attacked by a different species but survived.

This rarity is especially shocking this far north in the Atlantic Ocean. Globally in 2019, there were 64 reported shark attacks worldwide, with two fatalities, which is about average year over year. Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, the Director of The Shark Research and Conservation Program at The University of Miami spoke about shark attacks, or bites as he refers to them as. "Ultimately a shark bite is so rare that it is hard to call any inferences based on pattern." He went on to discuss shark behavior. "Sharks, including white sharks are incredibly tolerant and patient with people and they try to avoid people."

With the amount of people in the ocean every day, the fact that there aren't many, many shark bites really leads to the assumption that when one does occur, it is a wrong place, wrong time instance of chance.

Dr. Austin Gallagher from the research and conservation organization Beneath The Waves, reiterates Dr. Hammerschlag's sentiment. "Large sharks, including white sharks, have always occurred throughout New England Waters. Researchers have been tracking them widely throughout the region and the Gulf of Maine is certainly within their range."

Ultimately, human safety is paramount, and that includes ocean safety and awareness. Understanding what to do and how to behave is imperative if you find yourself in the ocean this summer. Dr. Gallagher went on to say, "These are tragic events when they happen - but it is important to remember that one incident doesn’t mean there is a spike in the population nor that the animals are moving into a new territory. What is critical is for water users to heed warnings issued by local agencies and to avoid areas where there are seals swimming, as these are what the big predatory sharks are hunting."

So what do you do when the statistically impossible happens? The below video supplies swimmers and surfers with lifesaving tips.

Next Up

Meet the Shark Species at Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium’s expert animal team cares for several shark species, from the great hammerhead and tiger sharks, to the largest in the sea - whale sharks (yes, they are a part of the shark family). Some of these species are apex predators essential to our ocean’s ecosystem. Unfortunately, humans are the number one threat to their populations.

2 Shark Week Blimps are Flying Over the Coasts

What's the only thing better than a flying shark? ...Two flying sharks. Starting July 1, keep your eyes on the sky for two SHARK WEEK blimps roaming the East and West coasts.Track the Shark Week blimps' whereabouts at SharkWeek.com/Blimp and share photos of your sightings using #EastShark and #WestShark.Get excited, Shark Week starts July 24 on Discovery and discovery+.

Shark Week: The Podcast - Eli Roth on Shark Killing Tournaments

Luke Tipple chats with Eli Roth, award-winning filmmaker and shark conservationist about shark killing tournaments in Florida and across the United States.

New Walking Shark Species Discovered

A shark that walks, evolutionary conundrums, temperature changes, and tectonic shifts lead scientists to discover four new species of sharks.Watch Island of the Walking Sharks on Wednesday, July 27 at 8:00pm ET/PT on Discovery and stream it on discovery+.

Shark Week: The Podcast – Dr. Greg Skomal talks Great White Sharks in Cape Cod

Marine biologist and star of Discovery’s Shark Week documentary Great White Intersection, Dr. Greg Skomal joins Luke Tipple to discuss a surge in great white shark numbers in Cape Cod.

Shark Week: The Podcast – Christine de Silva on the Technology Helping Us Understand Deep Sea Sharks

Luke Tipple is joined by Christine de Silva, marine scientist, shark expert, and co-founder of Juice Robotics to discuss deep-sea sharks and the technology helping us understand them.

Shark Week: The Podcast – Cristina Zenato on Why Sharks are the Safest Animal to Interact With on the Planet

Luke Tipple is joined by Cristina Zenato, “shark whisperer,” professional diver, shark expert, and founder of People of the Water. They discuss shark personalities, cognitive instincts, and their memory passed through DNA.

Shark Week: The Podcast - How Smart Are Sharks?

The discussion turns this week to sharks’ intelligence, and how it varies among species. Host Luke Tipple is joined by Dr. Tristan Guttridge, a behavioral ecologist and veteran of Shark Week whose research has tackled the social smarts, and even personalities, of different kinds of sharks. He sheds light on why we shouldn’t just think of them as dumb fish with rows of razor-sharp teeth. And at the end, our researcher Sierra Kehoe tells us about shark hypnosis.

Shark Week: The Podcast - How Many Sharks Are Yet to Be Discovered?

Luke Tipple is joined by Shark Week host and all-around adventurer Forrest Galante. They discuss his upcoming special Alien Sharks: South Africa, Forrest’s remarkable talent for finding creatures once believed to be extinct, and how many shark species may still be unknown. Then, our researcher Sierra stops by to tell us about the world’s most prehistoric shark.

Shark Week: The Podcast – How Sharks Are Built to Hunt

Dive in with marine biologist and shark expert Luke Tipple as he shares amazing facts about sharks' super-hero senses and dispels common shark myths.

Related To: