Shark Attacks in Florida and Texas Mark Start of Summer Beach Season


Three people were attacked by sharks in incidents reported in Florida and Texas on Thursday, marking the start of the Independence Day weekend with unsettling events, officials said.

These incidents add to a series of shark encounters across the U.S. this summer.

In Florida's New Smyrna Beach, a 21-year-old man from Ohio was bitten on the foot while standing in knee-deep water, as reported by Tamra Malphurs, interim director of Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue. He received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital.

On the same day, at South Padre Island on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a shark encounter involved four people, resulting in bites for two individuals, according to a press release from Texas Parks and Wildlife. Both victims were transported to a hospital, although their current conditions were not disclosed.

According to Tracking Sharks, there have been 28 reported shark attacks in the U.S. so far this year. Since June 2 alone, including Thursday's incidents, at least three other attacks have occurred, including one involving a great white shark injuring a man in California and a fatal attack on a man in Hawaii.

In Walton County, Florida, three women were injured by what authorities believe was a bull shark. Florida consistently records the highest number of shark attacks in the U.S., according to the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File.

The museum reported a slight increase in unprovoked shark attacks and fatalities worldwide in 2023, with a total of 69 attacks, including 10 fatalities. In the U.S., which saw the most incidents last year with 36 attacks and two fatalities, the trend in shark attacks has shown a slight decrease since reaching a peak in 2021 with 47 attacks, the highest ever recorded by the museum.

Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History's shark research program, noted that while reported shark bites may fluctuate annually, there has been a slight decline over decades, attributed in part to global reductions in shark populations due to commercial fishing. However, with beachgoer numbers rising and some shark populations recovering, Naylor anticipates a possible increase in incidents over the next decade. Photo by Elias Levy, Wikimedia commons.

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