Predicting potential future reduction in shark bites on people

Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Phoebe Meagher, Madeline J. Thiele, Robert G. Harcourt, Charlie Huveneers

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Abstract

Despite the low chance of a person being bitten by a shark, there are serious associated costs. Electronic deterrents are currently the only types of personal deterrent with empirical evidence of a substantial reduction in the probability of being bitten by a shark. We aimed to predict the number of people who could potentially avoid being bitten by sharks in Australia if they wear personal electronic deterrents. We used the Australian Shark Attack File from 1900 to 2020 to develop sinusoidal time-series models of per capita incidents, and then stochastically projected these to 2066. We predicted that up to 1063 people (range: 185-2118) could potentially avoid being bitten across Australia by 2066 if all people used the devices. Avoiding death and injury of people over the next half-century is of course highly desirable, especially when considering the additional costs associated with the loss of recreational, commercial and tourism revenue potentially in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars following clusters of shark-bite events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number201197
Number of pages14
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • bull shark
  • shark attack
  • shark-human interactions
  • tiger shark
  • white shark

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