8 Feb 2012

Shark attack fatality numbers at 20 year high

12:33 pm on 8 February 2012

Researchers say sharks killed a dozen people worldwide last year, the highest number in 20 years as tourists ventured into waters in remote areas.

There were three fatal attacks in Australia, two each in Reunion, the Seychelles and South Africa, and one each in Costa Rica, Kenya and New Caledonia.

The International Shark Attack File in Florida says 75 attacks occurred worldwide, close to the decade average, but the number of fatalities doubled compared with 2010.

Surfers were the most affected group, accounting for about 60%.

.Swimmers experienced 35% of attacks, followed by divers with about 5%.

Despite this toll, director George Burgess says humans still pose a much greater risk to sharks than the reverse - between 30 - 70 million sharks are killed in fisheries each year.