There were five unprovoked shark attacks along the West Coast, slightly more than double the number for 2007. All involved great white sharks...
The 2008 figures bring to 42 the total number of authenticated shark attacks along the West Coast during the first eight years of the century -- more than five times the 20th century annual average.
It might be simply because more people venturing into the ocean. It could also be that more white sharks are milling off Southern California, perhaps taking advantage of an exploding population of California sea lions. Or it could be that both factors are in play.
One thing I learned about the controversies about the impact of shark tourism on shark behavior when I read The Devil's Teeth : A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks. Researchers speculate that great whites could begin to associate human presence with food, and there are other problems as well.
I should write more on this, but it will have to wait until later.
The Devil's Teeth A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks