The Potential Impact of the Erroneous Categorization of Shark Bites on Incident Modeling
Historically, shark bite statistics have focused exclusively on what has been considered naturally occurring or “unprovoked” conflicts between sharks and people. However, the distinction between unprovoked and provoked bites is somewhat fluid and ambiguous to some extent, and so largely depending as it does on the interpretations of those who investigate these conflicts. In order to assess the subjectivity and potential for error inherent in these interpretations, we compared spatial and space-time clusters of incidents of aggregate bites, bites reported as unprovoked, and bites reported as provoked on the East coast of Florida, which is the shoreline where the largest number of shark bites is reported annually worldwide. The focus was on the primary-and secondary-high risk clusters, and the several activities leading to these bites.