It’s getting increasingly difficult to deny the fact that climate change is real because it’s affecting parts of our daily lives more and more. As it turns out, it’s not just higher temperatures that we have to contend with, but how those increased temperatures influence our interactions with other animals. One area of concern that might be linked to the warmer temperatures that our planet is experiencing is shark attacks. The fact is, over the last 20 years, there have been more shark attacks reported in unexpected locations than ever before.
In the United States alone, shark attacks in the Northwest have increased regularly over the last 20 years. Studies have linked that increase in attacks to the increase in temperatures. During the first 9 years of this century, there were 438 shark attacks recorded by the Global Shark Attack File. In the last 9 years, 444 attacks have been reported. While the majority of those attacks aren’t fatal, the math is still pretty concerning. While places like Florida and Hawaii still report the highest number of attacks in the world, it’s states like New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts that have seen the biggest increases in numbers.
It’s important to remember that, even though shark attacks are on the rise, the likelihood of getting bitten is still incredibly low. In the United States alone, more than 90 million people take to the water each year. Of those, only an average of 44 report an attack. In short, your odds of being bitten by a shark are about one in 738 million.
Even more reassuring is the fact that fatal shark attacks are even rarer. Since 1999, only 17 reported shark attacks around the globe proved to be fatal.
Of course, the more time you spend in the water, the more likely you are to have a run-in with a shark. Surfers and scuba divers carry the most risk, with respective odds of being bitten at 1:17,000,000 for surfers and 1:136,000,000 for divers. In most cases, simply being responsible while surfing or diving is enough to stave off any chance of being attacked. But, as global temperatures continue to rise, that may become harder to accomplish.