The Open Fish Science Journal

ISSN: 1874-401X ― Volume 9, 2016

Do Lunar Cycles Influence Shark Attacks?

The Open Fish Science Journal, 2013, 6: 71-74

Erich Ritter , Raid Amin , Aletheia Zambesi

Shark Research Institute/ Florida Office, 5970 Osprey Place, Pensacola, FL 32504, USA.

Electronic publication date 30/10/2013
[DOI: 10.2174/1874401X01306010071]


One recurring factor seemingly causing an increase in shark attacks is lunar cycles, especially the full moon. However, the potential association between shark attacks and lunar cycles has never been verified. Our results show that a correlation between shark attacks and moon cycles does not statistically exist. With no correlation between shark attack rates―independent of people's activities―and lunar cycles found, we also applied the same statistical procedures to surfer incidents only. The reasoning for narrowing the attacks to those on surfers was as follows: (1) Surfers indicate the best conditions to surf exist during the full and new moon. (2) Surfers are more exposed to shark attacks than non-surfers. However, as with the initial results, shark attacks involving surfers did not show any correlation to lunar cycles, neither did those involving non-surfers. These results indicate that potential triggers for shark attacks need to be studied in a more pragmatic manner, using, for example, mathematic approaches to test for global phenomena and then individual instances, leaving guess work largely aside.

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