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Florida Is Shark Attack Capital Of The World

GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) - New numbers from 2019 show Florida is the shark attack capital of the world.

There were 64 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks worldwide last year, compared to the most recent five-year-average of 82 unprovoked attacks, according to researchers with the International Shark Attack File. The research is administered by the Florida Museum of Natural History and the American Elasmobranch Society.

The United States had almost two-thirds of the unprovoked attacks, or 41 cases, an increase from 32 incidents in 2018, according to the International Shark Attack File. Florida led the nation in unprovoked attacks with 21, or about a third of all attacks worldwide.

Australia had 11 unprovoked shark attacks last year, lower than the most recent five-year-average of 16 cases.

The Bahamas had two unprovoked attacks, and there was one case each in the Canary Islands, the Caribbean islands, Cuba, French Polynesia, Guam, Israel, Mexico, New Caledonia, South Africa, and Reunion Island. Guam is a U.S. territory but it is counted separately by the shark trackers.

The shark trackers said Tuesday that they don't give much significance to short-term trends since annual fluctuations in shark-human interactions are common.

Unprovoked attacks occur when there is no human provocation. Provoked attacks are defined as when humans initiate contact, such as divers trying to touch a shark or fishermen removing a shark from a fishing net, according to the International Shark Attack File. The shark trackers said there were another 41 provoked attacks around the world that they were able to confirm.

Five of the attacks were fatal last year, which is in line with the global average of four attacks a year, the shark trackers said. Two of the fatalities were from unprovoked attacks.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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