The average risk of death from a shark attack is 1 in 3,748,067 – to put that into context, you’re 30 times more likely to die from lightening than a shark attack! Still, statistics dictate that some destinations are more likely to be shark hotspots than others.
There are more than 470 different shark species on earth from the biggest whale shark (12 meters long) to the smallest dwarf lantern shark (17cm long). All sharks can attack but there are just 4 species that inflict fatal attacks on humans; the mighty great white, bull, oceanic white tip and tiger sharks.
New South Wales, Australia
The east Australian state of NSW is the deadliest shark attack hotspot in the world, with a total of 195 shark attacks (since records began). What’s more shocking however is the fatal attack ration – 57 of these attacks have been fatal – that’s nearly 30% death rate. Although with local education and awareness campaigns there have been no shark fatalities since 2008. Just last month a 51 year old fisherman was attacked by a grey nurse shark as he tried to free it from his fishing net, suffering puncture wounds.
Australia as a whole however has had a total of 510 shark attacks with 144 proving fatal, the last in 2012.
South Africa is the most shark-prone country in Africa, where shark cage diving with great white species is a popular tourist attraction. A group of holidaymakers got more than they bargained for in March when a great white shark actually bit through the cage in Gansbaai in the Western Cape! Watch the scary video below! South Africa has had 52 fatalities from a total of 234 attacks. Africa as a whole has faced 326 shark attacks since records began with 89 fatal attacks.
Next up is the US State of Florida, which is the destination with the most shark attacks anywhere on earth! A total of 663 people have been attacked, with fortunately only 11 fatalities. Just last week a 16 year old lad was surfing at Melbourne Beach when he was nibbled on the ankle – he was more annoyed that by attending hospital, he’d missed the surf!
Continental USA (excluding Hawaii) is the most prolific shark hotspot on earth with 1,022 attacks and 36 fatalities since records began.
A shark attack was foiled by a British tourist holidaying in Queensland as he bravely grabbed the tail of the two meter long shark! The quick actions of the 62 year old prevented an attack in shallow waters where children were playing. Amazingly, a local film crew caught the action. In total 45 people have been killed from 161 shark attacks.
The seas surrounding the islands of Hawaii are a hotbed of shark action. West Coast sharks and mako sharks are commonly found in the waters, with white sharks only venturing to Hawaii occasionally. There have been 116 attacks with 8 fatalities.
The state of California is on the Pacific Coast and sees a fair amount of shark action. In fact it ranks sixth in the world for attacks with 109, resulting in 10 deaths. There are an abundance of great white sharks that prey in the Pacific.
And finally to Brazil in South America, whose coastline sees the most shark-related trouble with 23 deaths from 97 attacks. This is by far the highest in South America, where there has been a total of 113 attacks resulting in 25 deaths.
Thanks for the data from Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History – their website is fantastic with the latest stats (Last updated: 11 February 2013) and profiles of various shark species.