KEY POINTS

  • A surfer in Florida was bit by a shark while swimming in New Smyrna Beach
  • It is the fourth shark attack in the state and, comes just a week after the third one
  • There have been shark attacks and shark sightings in other parts of the country as well

The shark bite that a surfer survived last week marks the fourth shark attack in Florida this year. In other parts of the country, there have also been reports of shark attacks and sightings. 

Last Friday, July 31, a 22-year-old female surfer in chest-deep waters close to New Smyrna Beach in Florida got bit on the foot by a shark. Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Captain Tamra Malphurs told CNN that the surfer did not notice the shark and, that the attack did not lead to any life-threatening injuries.

"She was not transported to the hospital by ambulance," Malphurs told CNN.

The incident now marks the fourth shark attack in Florida, which happens to come just a week after another young boy was also bitten by a shark on the foot in New Smyrna Beach.

great-white-shark-398276_640 (1) Great White Shark Photo: Pixabay

Typically, the U.S. leads the worldwide tally for the most unprovoked shark attacks, with Florida being the state with the highest number. For instance, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File (ISAF), in 2019, out of the 41 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S., 21 were recorded in Florida.

This year, however, the numbers might be a little different as these attacks come after shark attack numbers significantly dropped, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the ISAF notes that there were only 18 unprovoked shark bites globally from Jan. 1 to June 18, which is a lower number compared to 2019's 24 bites and 2018's 28 during the same time period.

"The fact that we're in the teens at this time of year, with only two bites in Florida, is a sign that something else is at play," ISAF manager Tyler Bowling had said in a June news release from Florida Museum. "COVID-19 is the obvious answer, though there could be other factors."

With some beaches being opened to the public, shark attacks and sightings have been reported, such as the case of a woman who lost her life after being attacked by a great white shark near Bailey Island in Maine on July 27.

NBC New York also reported that several Long Island beaches had to be closed down last week due to shark sightings. For instance, Hempstead Town beaches were temporarily closed to swimmers this past weekend after lifeguards spotted a "large dark fin" in the water. Even when swimming was resumed, it was only limited to knee-deep access to the water. 

When asked about the shark sightings last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he would look into it and expressed his confidence in New York's capability to handle any "crisis."

Shark Week 2020 Shark Week is now in its 32nd year. A promotional photo from a 2019 special is above. Photo: Discovery