Miami, FL

Man Taken to Miami Hospital by U.S. Coast Guard After a Shark Attacks During a Fishing Trip

Toby Hazlewood

His crew might have saved his life

A 51-year-old man was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on February 21 after he suffered an injury to his arm from a shark bite. The man was fishing in waters off of Bimini in the Bahamas when the shark attacked, leaving him with a serious wound to the arm.

His fast-thinking crew applied a tourniquet to his arm while waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard to arrive and rescue him. He was then taken by air to hospital where he is now reported to be in a stable condition.

Shark attacks on the increase?

Earlier this year, statistics were released, suggesting that the number of shark attacks reported worldwide for 2021 is climbing. After 3-years of declining numbers it seems that attacks are on the increase once again.

In 2021 there were 73 unprovoked attacks worldwide, up from just 52 in 2020. It's worth noting that the numbers for 2022 might have been affected by stay-at-home orders in place during the pandemic.

What was notable in the report, was that the U.S. accounted for 47 of these attacks, and 28 of these happened in waters surrounding Florida.

In other words, 40% of worldwide unprovoked attacks occurred in Florida. The only fatal U.S. attack happened off the California coast however.

The statistics may not come as a shock, given the crystalline, warm waters off Florida. But there are suggestions that sharks could be moving further northwards, encouraged by warming seas, in turn caused by global warming.

Climate change may be to blame

Last summer, sharks were frequently spotted as far north as off the coast of Long Island, New York. While they have been known to inhabit waters that far north at certain times of year, in July last year it was reported that 30 Great White sharks had been tagged off Long Island - far more than normal.

Stay safe in the water

The International Shark Attack File - a joint initiative between the University of Florida and the Florida Museum offers a few simple points of guidance to those wanting to remain safe in the water, including:

  • Swim with a buddy
  • Stay close to the shore
  • Avoid swimming at dusk or dawn
  • Don't swim around schools of fish or people who are fishing

While the man who was bitten on Monday doesn't seem to have been violating these guidelines, it demonstrates that sharks do present a risk to those spending time in and around Florida's waters. Here's hoping he makes a full and speedy recovery.

Have you been up close with any sharks in Florida's waters? Do you believe that global warming is making sharks more prevalent? Let me know in the comments section below.

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