Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Forget sharks.....I'd be worried about your toilet!!

Perhaps no other creature on Earth invokes as much fascination, bewilderment and fear at the same time as the shark. Unfortunately the notion that all sharks are "man-eating machines" is unfounded, and in many cases has resulted in the unwarranted deaths of countless species. While it is thought there are over 400 different species of sharks worldwide, only about 30 have been reported to attack humans. In the Gulf of Mexico only four or five out of 30 or so species are even considered a potential risk to humans. With this being said all shark species, whether large or small, are formidable predators and should be treated with respect when encountered.
So what exactly are the chances of being attacked by a shark? Fortunately there is just the resource to help answer this question and many more relating to shark attacks-The International Shark Attack File (ISFA).  The ISFA is a compilation of all known shark attacks worldwide  that is administered by the the American Elasmobranch Society and the Florida Museum of Natural History. The site provides you with a variety of interesting resources that I think you will enjoy!

As mentioned by the ISFA...
"The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity...Worldwide there is an average of 50-70 shark attacks every year. The number of attacks has been increasing over the decades as a result of increased human populations and the use of the oceans for recreational activity. As long as humans continue to enter the sharks' environment, there will be shark attacks."

To give you a better idea of the relative risk of being attacked by a shark compared to other risk, the ISFA staff has compiled some fascinating statistics on the topic, which might surprise you. I've provided the screen shots of  some of the statistics they have. To see the complete list visit:

click on the screen shot to link you to the web page 

click on the screen shot to link you to the web page

click on the screen shot to link you to the web page

I want to point out that in 1996 there were 13 shark attacks and deaths in the United States. In the same year, there were 43,687 reported injuries associated with TOILETS!!!!!!!!! It makes you wonder why all the fuss about sharks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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