While Florida is breaking new COVID-19 records almost every day, it’s important to note the good things, like how we’re not getting chewed on by sharks as much.
Following months of closed beaches and limited public activity, Florida’s shark bite numbers have dwindled dramatically, according to the International Shark Attack File, housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
Typically topping the annual global shark bite tally, Florida has actually seen only two unprovoked bites between Jan. 1 and June 18, one each in Brevard and Duval counties, according to the ISAF.
Florida is not the only area experiencing drops in shark bites. Globally, only 18 bites have been recorded, seven of which were in U.S. waters. This represents an international decrease down from a global 24 in the same period in 2019 and 28 in 2018.
In a 20-year comparison of shark bites, 2020’s recordings have reached a 15-year low, tying with 2005 for unprovoked bites from January through May.
According to the ISAF, which is a comprehensive database of all known shark attacks dating back to 1958, the decrease is likely attributed to coronavirus shutdowns and limited gatherings on beaches that occurred throughout the past months. However, researchers note there may be other causes at play.
ISAF researchers have found an unexplained decrease in shark bites in past years, with 2019’s 64 bites marking a 22% drop from the past five-year average of 82 annually.
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