A factor in shark attack increase: more people in the water

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PORTLAND, Maine — Scientists say wildlife protection measures are helping sharks rebound, but they aren’t the only reason for the uptick in encounters between the fish and humans.

Expanding human populations and growing use of beaches are major factors, too.

Recent shark attacks in North Carolina and Florida have made headlines as the summer beach-going season approaches.

The Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File says the number of unprovoked shark attacks has grown in every decade since the 1970s. The file’s publisher and shark researcher George Burgess says this decade will almost definitely set a new record.

Greg Skomal, a Massachusetts scientist, says encounters with marine animals are inevitable as long people keep visiting their habitat.