Preventing shark attacks: What you need to know

A bull shark bit a mans legs over the weekend while he was swimming off of a Florida beach. He survived with injuries that werent life-threatening.

The idea of a shark attack can be terrifying, and there has been an increase in reports of Western coast shark sightings and assaults .

White shark populations on the Western coast had declined over several decades, but show right now is that theyre beginning to rise again ever so slowly thanks to federal and state protection of the species, International Shark Attack File( ISAF) director George Buress recently told Fox News.

Last year, there were 84 corroborated provoked shark assaults globally – a dip from the 98 unprovoked assaults in 2015, ISAFs website says. 56 of the 2016 assaults were in the United States — compared to 59 unprovoked attacks the year before.

Though ISAF tells the risk of being killed in a shark assault is one in 3,748, 067, heres what you can do to prevent such an event, and fight back if need be.

How can I prevent a shark from biting me ?

There are a couple of things you can do.

University of Miami professor and marine ecologist Dr. Neil Hammerschlag says to avoid swimming in areas with an unusual amount of fish life, where sharks may be searching for food.

You should also avoid being in the water at nighttime, dawn, or nightfall. It is suggested that sharks may misstep people or bite people unintentionally, he told Fox News, explaining that its harder for them to discriminate when its dark out.

People should also avoid swimming alone, and stay in groups. Sharks tend to target isolated prey, Hammerschlag said.

SHARK BITES BOTH LEGS OF SWIMMER OFF OF POPULAR FLORIDA NUDE BEACH

I watch a shark – what should I do ?

Keep your distance – do not attempt to shoo, corner, or touch it.

Dont act like shark food, Hammerschlag recommends. He says that if you encounter a shark, do not run away. You should also maintain eye linked with the shark.

Follow it around if it circles you, let it know that it find you, he said. When trying to get away, maintain facing the shark, but move backwards slowly.

Whats the best style to fight back if a shark is biting me ?

Most sharks bite and release, Hammerschlag says. In the unlikely event they dont release, he says that you should fight back and strike the sharks gills, eyes and nose.

Hammerschlag also said that shark bites are really rare, usually minor and do not necessitate hospitalization.

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