Florida retains title as shark bite capital of the world in 2022

Even sharks love hanging out at Florida’s beaches.

The Sunshine State led the world in “unprovoked” shark bites in 2022 — accounting for 28% of all global attacks, according to a new study.

The University of Florida’s International Shark File logged 57 total chomps in the year — with the Sunshine State accounting for 16 of them.

“For decades, Florida has topped global charts in the number of shark bites, and this trend continued in 2022,” the study stated.

Incidents are considered “unprovoked” when the victim did not initiate contact with the feared predator or provoke it in any way.

The report categorized 32 additional shark bites as “provoked” in 2022, where the victims had either “harassed” the fish or tried to touch them in some fashion.

Addison Bethea recovering from a shark attack last year.
Addison Bethea seen recovering from a shark attack last July.

None of Florida’s attacks were fatal last year — although two bull shark assaults required amputations, according to the annual report.

In one instance, Addison Bethea, 17, had a portion of her leg amputated after a shark bit her during a Taylor County scalloping trip in July.

The brave teen has since been outfitted with a prosthetic leg and is walking again.

The worldwide shark attack total was down last year and tied with 2020 for the lowest number in the last decade.

Florida led the world in "unprovoked" shark bites last year with 16.
Florida led the world in “unprovoked” shark bites last year with 16.
AFP via Getty Images

Since 2013, there’s been an average of 74 unprovoked shark bites reported annually.

There was only one fatal shark attack in the US last year, which took place in Hawaii. There were five deaths globally, the report found. Egypt and South Africa each recorded two shark-related deaths in 2022.

Florida’s Volusia County retained its title as the world’s shark bite capital, accounting for seven gnawings last year.

The authors noted that swimmers and waders accounted for 43% of all shark bites, followed by surfers at 35% and snorkelers and free divers at 9%.

Florida beachgoers walk by a sign warning of sharks.
The Sunshine State accounted for 28% of the global shark bite total.

The report highlighted that the odds of a dangerous shark encounter remain low.

“The total number of unprovoked shark bites worldwide is extremely low, given the number of people participating in aquatic recreation each year,” the study stated. “Fatality rates have been declining for decades, reflecting advances in beach safety, medical treatment and public awareness.”

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