Unprovoked shark attacks increasing on West Coast

The nonprofit Shark Research Committee, which documents shark attacks on the Pacific Coast of North America, is warning that unprovoked attacks are increasing on the West Coast of the United States.

In 2017, there were nine unprovoked shark attacks on the West Coast, eight of which occurred in California, the research organization stated in a press release. Two of the shark attacks took place in Santa Barbara on the same day, while another one occurred in Monterey. None of the shark attacks in 2017 were fatal.

Four of the West Coast attacks occurred in July, while there were one each in March, April, August, November and December. Four of the victims were kayaking at the time they were attacked. Two were surfing, and one each were paddle boarding, free-diving and swimming.

Since Jan. 2000, there have been 103 confirmed shark attacks on the West Coast, five of which have been fatal, according to the Shark Research Committee. During the entire 20th Century, there were 108 confirmed shark attacks on the West Coast.

Most of the Pacific Coast attacks in both the 20th and 21st centuries have been carried out by Great White sharks. Since 2000, 60 percent of the victims were surfing at the time of the attacks.

It is expected that a larger shark population and more people in the ocean has led to the increase in attacks, said Ralph S. Collier, president of the Shark Research Committee.

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