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  Florida shark-feeding to be banned
Updated 02 November 2001, 16.28
Shark
Shark-feeding off the coast of Florida will be banned by the authorities from 1 January 2002.

Thousands of tourists feed the sharks from boats in Florida every year.

But now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) admit that feeding them changes their natural behaviour.

Attack

Fact File
Sharks
350 species of sharks
3 species attack humans
More people die from bee stings
Swim at 2.5 km per hour
They have very good eyesight
Shark fossils date from 300 million years ago

Experts say when sharks are fed by hand, they learn to associate humans with food and this may be the reason for the rise in shark attacks.

There have been 39 attacks in 2001 already, including one in July when a shark ripped the arm off a 9-year-old boy as he swam.

No evidence

The wildlife commission investigated the experts' claims and agreed that the tourists affected their behaviour.

But it said there was no real evidence that this was the cause of more shark attacks.

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