"Post-9/11 slow-downs in local economies and the recession have reduced the number of tourists and vacationing residents entering the sea," the researchers write.
"Media coverage of sharks has been high over the past decade with a plethora of television and print stories detailing the 'do's and don't's' involved in reducing shark-human interactions. It is possible that those engaged in marine aquatic recreation (and beach safety personnel charged with their oversight in many areas of the world) are doing a better job of avoiding high risk areas and times, thereby reducing chance meetings between sharks and humans."
This year's higher rate no doubt is a statistical anomaly based in part on where the serious attacks occurred geographically. The unusually low proportion of attacks occurring in the United States, particularly in Florida, and a jump in attacks in non-U.S. locales not blessed with as highly-developed safety and medical personnel and facilities lead to an unusually high number of deaths. The fatality rate in the U.S. was zero, elsewhere it was nearly 25%.
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