February 28, 2008 : – – Nine unprovoked shark attacks were confirmed from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2007, which equaled the previous Pacific Coast record set in 2004. Victims of the nine attacks included 2 swimmers, 1 kayaker, 1 paddle boarder, and 5 surfers.
The attacks were scattered over a five month period; June (1), July (4), August (1), September (2), and October (1). Five of the nine attacks (56%) were from a ‘recurring location,’ a site where at least one prior attack had been reported. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified as the causal species in four of the nine attacks and was highly suspect in three additional cases.
The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” described 108 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the attacks; with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. It is compelling that since the year 2000 there have been 37 unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast.
This is ‘more than five times’ the Twentieth Century annual average and ‘more than one-third’ the total number of attacks reported during the entire Twentieth Century.
The most recent victim was Sam Bendall surfing 80 – 100 feet from shore near the Venice Pier, Los Angeles County the morning of October 7th. He was the ninth person to be attacked by a shark off the Pacific Coast during 2007. Bendal was the seventy-first surfer to be attacked off the Pacific Coast since 1972 and the 145th shark attack victim since 1900. The Great White Shark has been implicated in 125 (86%) of the 145 reported attacks.
There have been 31 shark attacks confirmed from California, which includes 2 fatalities, and 6 unprovoked attacks reported from Oregon during the first seven years of the 21st Century. Surfers accounted for 30 (81%) of the 37 shark attacks documented since 2000. The number of juvenile and adult Great White Sharks reported from Southern California during 2007 suggests a possible increase in their population.
In response to these observations, the Shark Research Committee will embark on an archival satellite tagging program in early spring 2008 to gather data on juvenile and adult Great White Shark movements in Southern California waters. Through the efforts of volunteers, a proactive reporting network will be established to support the tagging program in hopes of determining the population dynamics of the Great White Shark.
Additional information regarding the publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century,” and the Shark Attack Files of the Shark Research Committee, can be found at the website: Shark Research Committee