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Feb 12, 2013 12:36 AM by Associated Press

US shark attacks hit highest level since 2000

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Scholars say shark attacks in the U.S. reached their highest level in a decade last year.

The University of Florida's International Shark Attack File released on Monday says the U.S. experienced 53 attacks in 2012, the most since 2000.

Florida led the U.S. with 26 attacks. Hawaii had 10 attacks, followed by California and South Carolina with five each, North Carolina with two and one each in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Puerto Rico. One attack in California was fatal.

The report says there were seven fatalities worldwide, which is lower than 2011 but higher than the yearly average of 4.4 from 2001 to 2010. There were 80 unprovoked attacks worldwide, slightly more than 2011.

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