More Sharks Coming

Warmer water means more opportunities to say “hello.” Photo: AP

How’s your anxiety-level when it comes to global warming? (note, correct answer should read: “skyrocketing”) Rising seas, famines, droughts, killer storms—Lord knows, there’s plenty to fear already, even without the increased threat of shark attacks in coming years.

What’s that about sharks you say? That’s right, being eaten by a shark must now be added to the “Shit That Might Kill You Because of Global Warming” list.

Scientists at the Florida Program for Shark Research (FPSR) have unapologetically announced, with no regard for any galeophobics out there, that they expect more shark attacks this year than last. A warmer climate means warmer water in coastal areas normally too bone-chillingly cold to be swimmer and surfer friendly. The theory goes something like this: warmer oceans + more people spending more time in the water + healthy shark populations = greater chances of a whole lot of worst fears being realized.

At least one part of that equation is actually a good thing. The number of great whites seem to be on the rise along American shores, particularly near California. The FPSR recently wrapped up a study that showed there were at least 2,400 great whites terrifying the food chain off the West Coast. That number is far higher than many expected; it also means that as bad as things are getting for the health of the oceans, they’re still supporting population growth for the sea’s number-one predator.
So next time your paddle out is made a bit more pleasant by a little bump in water temps, remember the little bump in shark attacks that’s going right along with it.

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