Unfortunately, shark attacks on the Pacific Coast are on a rise.
In recent years, the shark population has spiked due to protections that were placed for their well being. The number of people using beaches on the Pacific Coast has also spiked. Because of the the increased number of people and the increased number of sharks, it is only natural that we would start to see more attacks happening.
Sharks attack people for a variety of reasons. When we think of shark attacks, we may think of ferocious creatures who are looking to eat people. In reality, a shark may not be looking to eat humans. Sometimes, a shark may mistake the identity of a human and think that it is another creature that it would rather feast on. Other times, a shark may be engaging in “displacement behavior.” A shark engages in “displacement behavior when it wants the person or object to leave the vicinity. This behavior stems from being territorial and the desire to protect the area where one gets it food.
When we look at how many shark attacks happen each year on the West Coast, it seems like a relatively rare occurrence. For example, the number of shark attacks numbered nine in 2017, five in 2016, six in 2015 and nine in 2004. Even though there are so few shark attacks that happen, it is important to note the trends in how often they happen because they can be quite severe and life changing for the people who are attacked.