International Shark Attack File

International Shark Attack File

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The International Shark Attack File is a global database of shark attacks. It began as an attempt to catalogue shark attacks on servicemen during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The Office of Naval Research
Office of Naval Research
The Office of Naval Research , headquartered in Arlington, Virginia , is the office within the United States Department of the Navy that coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S...

 funded it from 1958 until 1968. During that time a panel of shark experts developed a standard system for collecting accounts of shark attacks from around the world. The file was temporarily housed at the Mote Marine Laboratory
Mote Marine Laboratory
Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent not-for-profit marine research organization based on City Island in Sarasota, FL. The laboratory aims to advance the science of the sea, both through its marine and estuarine research labs and through the public Mote Aquarium and its affiliated educational...

 in Sarasota, Florida until a permanent home was found at the Florida Museum of Natural History
Florida Museum of Natural History
The Florida Museum of Natural History is the State of Florida's official state-sponsored and chartered natural history museum. Its main facilities are located on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida....

, University of Florida. It is currently under the direction of members of the American Elasmobranch Society
American Elasmobranch Society
The American Elasmobranch Society is a professional society devoted to the scientific study of living and fossil chondrichthyans . Other aims include the promotion of education, conservation, and wise utilization of natural resources. Established in 1983 by Dr...

, including George H. Burgess
George H. Burgess
George H. Burgess is an ichthyologist and fisheries biologist with the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. He is the director of the International Shark Attack File and author/coauthor of numerous books and papers on sharks and other fish.George Burgess also appeared on...

. The file contains information on over 4,000 shark attacks and includes detailed, often privileged, information including autopsy reports and graphic photos. The file is accessible only to scientists whose access is permitted only by a review board.

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