Gruesome shark attacks increased across the world in 2021 for the first time in several years, new figures show.
A report from the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File (ISAF) revealed there were 73 shark bites on humans last year.
It marks an increase of 28% on the 57 people killed across the globe by the skilled sea predators in 2020, which was an unusually quiet 12 months for shark-human interactions likely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gavin Naylor, the director of the Florida Program for Shark Research who co-authored the report, told Newsweek: "Last year, we speculated—and we don't know this for sure—that the reason why there was a lower number was because there were fewer people in the water because of the lockdowns.
"Now the number is back up again because people got fed up and returned to the water.
"We had a little bit of a dip last year and we seem to be moving up to normal numbers this year."
ISAF researchers also recorded 11 shark-related deaths, with nine of them being considered to have been 'unprovoked'.
Australia topped the grim chart with three unprovoked deaths, with the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific coming in behind with two.
Single shark deaths were also reported from the United States, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa.
Florida continues to be the world-leader in non-fatal shark attacks however, with 28 unprovoked bites being recorded in the state in 2021.
It dwarfs any other region in the US or anywhere in the world, with 19 registered in other parts of America and just 26 recorded anywhere else in the world.
In a press release accompanying the report, ISAF said shark attacks continue to be "extremely rare" and that a higher than typical number of fatal bites should not be "cause for alarm".
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