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Article: Outside on the science of shark attacks

Outside Online features an interview with George Burgess, who wears many shark-related hats. One of them is that he is director of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), a database of every interaction between a human and a shark that involves teeth (my definition).

Burgess is a scientist, and uses the ISAF to demonstrate how uncommon shark bites are. Sharks have far more to fear from humans than we do from them:

As it turns out, the shark attack file offers us an opportunity to not only, I suppose, help humanity at some level by trying to reduce the opportunities for shark and humans to get together and therefore saving some grief among humans, but equally importantly, it allows us to put it into perspective: shark attacks as a phenomenon are a fairly uncommon event. By contrast, our decimation of sharks and ray populations is going on largely unabated. It gives us a bully pulpit to talk about the real concern of the shark in the scientific world, which is the fate of the sharks.

It’s a worthwhile interview to read. Burgess gives his perspective on the recent spate of shark-related fatalities in Western Australia, and why we observe an increasing trend when considering the number of attacks per decade since the beginning of the 21st century.

Read the full article here.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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