After three years of declining, the number of shark attacks rose in 2021. The Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File reported 137 alleged shark-human interactions in 2021. Of those, 73 attacks were considered unprovoked, while 39 were provoked attacks.
Of the remaining 25 cases they investigated, four involved sharks biting boats, one involved a shark biting a deceased victim, five were determined to be the result of something else, and 14 cases were unconfirmed.
The 73 unprovoked attacks were in line with the average of 72. That number fell to 52 in 2020, which was the lowest number in over a decade.
“Shark bites dropped drastically in 2020 due to the pandemic,” International Shark Attack File manager Tyler Bowling said in a statement. “This past year was much more typical, with average bite numbers from an assortment of species and fatalities from white sharks, bull sharks, and tiger sharks.”
There were a total of 11 shark-related deaths, nine of which were caused by an unprovoked attack. That number is nearly double the yearly average of five fatal unprovoked shark attacks per year.
The United States leads the world with 47 unprovoked shark bites, followed by Australia, which reported just 12 incidents. More than half of the attacks occurred in Florida, which continues to lead the world in unprovoked attacks with 28.