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WHO'S THE REAL MONSTER OF THE DEEP?

Despite excessive media coverage, 2001 has not been an exceptional year for shark attacks, though they're being seen in very shallow water. One theory is that overfishing is pushing them toward the shore.

Although the world's most effective predator, man, slaughters more than 100 million sharks each year, it was the seemingly sharp increase in shark reprisals during the summer of 2001 that set off a media feeding frenzy (see "Who's the Real Killer," Currents, November/December 1995). Despite sensational stories, however, 2001 has not been an exceptional year for shark attacks. By early September, there had been 50 worldwide, compared to 79 around the globe in 2000. In 1999, the world experienced only 58 unprovoked attacks and just four fatalities, a record low, so there's no clear pattern of rising threat. There's no scientific consensus on why shark attacks might be up in a given year, but Florida charter boat fisherman Mark "the Shark" Quartiano says, "I personally feel that the sharks are not finding any food out in the deep anymore [because of overfishing] and [are] coming into the shallows." CONTACT: International Shark Attack File, Florida Museum of Natural History, (352)392-1721, www.flmnh.uti.edu/fish/sharks/ISAF/ISAE.htm.
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Title Annotation:overfishing and shark attacks may be related
Author:Motavalli, Jim
Publication:E
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:203
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