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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Don’t believe everything you see on the big screen, folks! Fewer shark bites were reported worldwide in 2018, according to University of Florida researchers.
The university’s International Shark Attack File documented 66 bites in 2018, compared with 88 the previous year. That’s 26 percent lower than the five-year average of 84 bites annually. Thirty-two bites happened in U.S. waters.
Four of last year’s bites were fatal, roughly keeping with the average of six deaths worldwide each year.
In a statement Monday, Gavin Naylor of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program said it’s unknown whether the drop can be attributed to more people heeding beach safety warnings or to declining shark populations.
Naylor said beachgoers need to learn about shark behavior in areas such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where great white sharks have followed a rebounding seal population.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)