The most shark-infested waters in the world

Surfing
Surfing: a sport of surfers and sharks

There are over 470 species of sharks and they have been living on Planet Earth for 420 million years.

The smallest shark - the dwarf lantern shark - is only 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in length, while the whale shark is the largest specie in the world, with approximately 12 meters (39 feet).

Sharks live in all oceans down to depths of 2,000 meters (6,600 feet). Usually, they do not live in freshwater with the exception of the bull shark and river shark.

Teeth and jaws of sharks are deadly, but only the great white, the oceanic white tip, the tiger and the bull shark are responsible for fatal attacks on humans. The International Shark Attack File reveals that between 1580 and 2018, more than 660 people lost their lives due to roughly 3,000 shark attacks.

In 2017, nearly two-thirds of the victims - 59 percent - were surfing or engaging in water sports. Then, 22 percent were swimmers and beachgoers, 9 percent were snorkelers and divers, and only 2 percent were bodysurfers.

Unprovoked Shark Attacks by Region of the World

USA and Australia are the most sharks infested countries in the world. Since the year 1580, a total of 642 shark attacks killed more than 155 people in Australia. In the United States, 1,441 attacks have already caused over 35 deaths.

Florida and California have been suffering more than any other US state. With nearly 1,000 attacks, both territories have lost over 20 lives. Maui, Oahu and Kauai record all fatalities (10) ever in the Hawaiian Islands.

Shark-infested waters: nearly two-thirds of the victims are surfers and water sports enthusiasts | Photo: Shutterstock

In the African continent, of all 345 attacks and 94 deaths, South Africa has seen 255 attacks and 54 life losses. The Mascarene Islands have a 50 percent rate of casualties - 42 attacks and 19 deaths.

In South America, Brazil is on top of the list when it comes to shark attacks (107) and human losses (22), since 1931. Pernambuco is the most deadly region.

Europe's mild waters are quite protected from sharks and their jaws. Italy, with its warmer seas, recorded 13 attacks and three deaths, but it is Greece that has the largest number of attacks (15) and fatalities (12). The Old Continent has lost a total of 27 people for sharks, since 1847.

Australia is a shark-infested country, with three different grades of probabilities - mild (Northern Territory, Tasmania and Cocos Islands), moderate (Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria) and severe (Queensland and New South Wales).

With a total of 642 shark attacks and over 155 deaths since 1580, the Australians are always under red alert.

Surfers and boardsports enthusiasts accounted for 53 percent of all 2018 unprovoked shark attacks; swimmers represented 30 percent.

Explore our shark attack map and get an anti-shark defense system to protect yourself while surfing. Learn how to survive a shark attack.

The most shark-infested regions in the world are:

Territory Total Attacks Fatal Attacks Last Fatality
Florida (USA) 828 11 2014
South Africa 255 54 2014
New South Wales (Australia) 247 61 2015
Queensland (Australia) 191 51 2018
California (USA) 124 10 2012
Brazil 107 23 2018
South Carolina (USA) 105 2 1852
Western Australia (Australia) 98 16 2017
North Carolina (USA) 67 3 2001
Maui (Hawaii) 64 5 2015
Fiji Islands 58 22 2017
New Zealand 52 8 2013
Papua New Guinea 48 - -
Mascarene Islands (Reunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues) 46 19 2019
Texas (USA) 44 2 1962
South Australia (Australia) 41 14 2011
Mexico 40 19 2008
Victoria (Australia) 40 8 1970
Oahu (Hawaii) 42 5 1993
Bahamas 29 1 2010
Caribbean 27 - -
Oregon (USA) 27 - -
Kauai (Hawaii) 29 - -
Iran 23 8 1985
Egypt 22 5 2018
New Jersey (USA) 15 6 1960
Japan 15 7 2000
Greece 15 12 1969
India 14 5 1956
New Caledonia 15 1 2015
Tasmania (Australia) 14 4 1993
Italy 13 3 1954
Hong Kong 13 - -
Georgia (USA) 14 - -
Cuba 12 8 2017
Philippines 11 6 1960
Mozambique 11 3 1998
Solomon Islands 11 - -
Big Island (Hawaii) 20 - -
Ecuador 12 - -
Indonesia 11 2 1950
Puerto Rico 11 2 1924
Vietnam 10 - -
Panama 10 - -
New York (USA) 12 - -
Kiribati 8 - -
Iraq 8 - -
Marshall Islands 8 - -
Alabama (USA) 8 - -
Northern Territory (Australia) 7 1 1934
Kenya 6 - -
Spain 6 1 1902
Canary Islands 6 - -
Costa Rica 7 1 2017
French Polynesia 6 - -
Lybia 5 - -
Croatia 5 - -
Saudi Arabia 5 - -
Malta 5 - -
Virginia (USA) 5 1 2001
France 5 1 19--
Venezuela 4 2 1971
Argentina 4 - -
Singapore 4 3 1954
Micronesia 4 - -
Lousiana (USA) 5 - -
Delaware (USA) 4 - -
American Samoa 4 - -
Tonga 4 - -
Seychelles 4 2 2011
Tanzania 4 - -
Haiti 4 - -
Sri Lanka 4 - -
US Virgin Islands 3 - -
Bermuda 3 - -
Russia 3 - -
Somalia 3 - -
Massachusetts (USA) 6 2 2018
Cocos Islands 3 - -
Jamaica 3 - -
Tunisia 3 - -
Madagascar 3 - -
Dominican Republic 3 - -
Thailand 3 - -
Taiwan 3 - -
Vanuatu 2 - -
Wake Island 2 - -
El Salvador 2 - -
Cayman Islands 2 - -
Turks and Caicos Islands 2 - -
Molokai (Hawaii) 2 - -
United Kingdom 2 - -
Washington (USA) 2 - -
Sudan 2 - -
Yemen 2 - -
Nicaragua 2 - -
Mississipi (USA) 2 - -
Colombia 1 - -
Antigua and Barbuda 1 - -
Cape Verde 1 - -
British Indian Ocean Territory 1 - -
China 1 - -
Cyprus 1 - -
Djibuti 1 - -
Guam 1 - -
Israel 1 - -
Liberia 1 - -
Martinique 1 - -
Nigeria 1 - -
Pakistan 1 - -
Finland 1 - -
Senegal 1 - -
Sierra Leone 1 - -
South Korea 1 - -
Uruguay 1 - -
Malaysia 1 - -
Maine (USA) 1 - -
Connecticut (USA) 1 - -
Rhode Island (USA) 1 - -
Maldive Islands 1 - -
Maryland (USA) 1 - -
Lanai (Hawaii) 1 - -


The Shark Attack File has been updated on May 28, 2019

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