With the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election looming large over data visualization projects worldwide, I decided to go in a slightly different direction: shark attacks!
The good folks at the Shark Research Institute have been scouring books and the internet for shark attack data. All in all, I’ll be graphing about 5000 attacks.
As you can see, reports of shark attacks have been increasing over time, and most are non-fatal.
Shark attack records start off slow, but really start to pick up steam around the turn of the century. Also, there was a surge of attacks in the early 1960s, and another in the early 2000s. Why these periods? Let’s find out!
It seems that the spike in the 1960s was the result of more fishermen being attacked, while the attacks of the 2000s resulted from the growing popularity of surfing. Note also the great number of shark attacks that happened between 1935 and 1949. Unfortunately, these were mostly the result of warships going down in shark-infested waters.
The great number of fishermen being attacked in the 1960s actually coincides with a global fishing boom that happened around then. In fact, a bunch of overfishing regulations got passed toward the end of that decade, which are probably responsible for the dip in fishermen getting bitten .
Moving on: most of the attack entries had information about the victim, like age and gender. So let’s check it out. Who gets attacked more, men or women?
How about age and gender? The youngest victims (on average) are waders, followed by surfers and swimmers. The oldest victims are fishermen, researchers, and prisoners.
Finally, maybe the coolest question. How big are these sharks? People only started recording shark size in the mid-1800s, so we’ll start there.
As you can see, sharks seem to have miraculously gotten smaller right after the invention of the first portable, low-price camera!
(Also, only men exaggerate the size of their sharks.)
Thanks for reading!
Want more data visualization? Check out my other posts at: https://vizthis.wordpress.com/