Why this small Florida county became the ‘shark bite capital of the world’ – DNyuz

Why this small Florida county became the ‘shark bite capital of the world’

Florida tourists who make for the Sunshine State’s popular beaches could be entering some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

Data from the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF), which describes itself as “the world’s only scientifically documented, comprehensive database of all known shark attacks,” shows that Florida is the global leader in shark attacks, with 259 from 2012 to 2021, well ahead of Australia in second place.

But it is in Volusia County — which includes the renowned Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach — on Florida’s east coast that has been dubbed the “shark bite capital of the world.” It is where swimmers and surfers are most at risk in the state, with 343 recorded shark bites from 1882-2023, more than double that of neighboring Brevard, the county with the next most reported attacks, according to the ISAF.

According to Gavin Naylor of The Florida Program of Shark Research in an email, this is due to the high concentration of Menhaden and Mullet baitfish off of the coast of Volusia and the good surfing waves.

” The water flowing from Ponce Inlet, north of the area where shark attacks are most common, is usually home to a high density of baitfishes,” Naylor wrote in an email. It’s a very high-energy environment, with lots of waves. This churns up the water, making the visibility poor and attracts surfers.”

He added that the baitfish attracted the sharks, but the poor visibility in the area made catching them difficult — leading the sharks to go for arms and legs “dangling off” surfboards.

ISAF data suggests that the most likely activity, place, and time for a shark attack would be surfing off the coast of Volusia County between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in September.

The sharks that hunt the waters of Volusia County and are mostly involved in biting incidents include Blacktip, Bull, and Requiem sharks.

There have been seven shark bites in the county so far in 2023, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

A surfer was reportedly bitten in the face in the waters off of New Smyrna Beach on September 12, per the outlet.

Mark Summersett, 38, was attacked while surfing at the beach’s jetty, Ocean Rescue Capt. Alex Miller told the News-Journal.

” “He didn’t see it, but he assumed it was a Shark,” Miller said.

Summersett was left with a severe gash to his face that required around 20 stitches, WESH 2 News reported.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve probably ever been through in my life. “I’ve had bad car crashes.” “Nothing like this”, Sumersett told the outlet.

The post Why this small Florida county became the ‘shark bite capital of the world’ appeared first on Business Insider.