VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL: Joe Wooden, deputy chief of Volusia County
beach operations and media liaison, said he gave 44 media interviews in
24 hours after six people were bitten by sharks in a single weekend.
Beginning at 5am for radio interviews and ending with international
interviews at 11pm, Wooden said he came home and fell into bed with his
To bite back at the shark media frenzy, Wooden has dished out
He said he acknowledges that New Smyrna Beach is on its way to a
record-breaking summer with between 15 and 17 people bitten by sharks
Just a few more, and the Volusia County Beach Patrol will break its 1996
record of treating 18 shark attacks.
But Wooden said he is being careful to put the figures into context.
While Florida and the Daytona Beach area lead the world in shark bites
every year, 90% of those bites occur in one inlet frequented by
The majority of the county's 10 million annual beach visitors never
visit the surfer spot, making their bite risk minimal.
Wooden said he also makes a distinction between bites and attacks, a
point he said the media sometimes does not clarify. Bites may only
require minor medical attention, while attacks can kill.
"I tell them that in Daytona Beach, you have a better chance of winning
the Florida lottery than you do of being bitten by a shark," said
However, there are no communications plans in place to give surfers more
information because, Wooden said, surfers seem unconcerned by the
"We speak to that audience on a daily basis," said Wooden, "but for the
most part, they are reluctant to even listen because they have
absolutely no concern for sharks in the water."