Shark incidents worldwide

Shark incident map

I love maps (our home is full of them) and have more than a passing interest in sharks. I’ve fooled around with the meeting point of those two subjects during the course of a class I took called Maps and the Geospatial Revolution – you can see the results here. I was therefore delighted and intrigued when Mike (whose blog you should subscribe to – do it now!) posted a link to an ArcGIS map of shark incidents, worldwide.

His take on it was that it shows there is no correlation between shark bites on humans, and locations where sharks are fed or lured with food as part of eco-tourism, suggesting that (as the science also suggests) sharks are not turned into “man eaters” by nearby baited dive or cage diving operations.

Shark incidents worldwide
Shark incidents worldwide

Check out the map here. Click on the Legend text in the left hand sidebar to see what the different coloured dots mean. As it stands the map is not terribly helpful for analysis because it’s hard to discern the different colours of the dots – the types of incidents range in severity. The dots are also clustered most around the most areas that are most heavily populated with sharks and water-using humans. This mostly tells you about population levels, and not so much about sharks. It’s impossible to see any kind of trend because the data is from 1982 to 2012. Conclusions (or hypotheses) such as Mike’s, that are time-independent, are quite appropriate, however.

There’s more information on the source data for the ocean map here (not for the shark incident data – I’d surmise that it came from here or here).

Thanks Mike!

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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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