Shark Attack Statistics in Australia

Australia is the deadliest location in the world when it comes to fatalities directly associated with shark attacks.
Australia is the deadliest location in the world when it comes to fatalities directly associated with shark attacks.

Shark attack statistics show that Australia is the deadliest location in the world when it comes to shark attack fatalities.

More than 700 unprovoked shark attacks have been recorded since 1900, resulting in more than 170 fatalities, with hundreds more severely injured.

Shark attack statistics in Australia by State 2012- 2020
Shark attack statistics in Australia by State 2012- 2020

How many shark attacks happen in Australia?

In 2020:

  • Australia recorded 22 unprovoked shark encounters – more than 38% of the worldwide total.
  • There were 8 fatalities in total, 7 of which were attributed to shark attacks that were unprovoked. This accounted for more than 50% of the worldwide total fatalities.
  • There were a further 11 victims that sustained injury due to the unprovoked attack.


Although no fatalities were recorded in 2019, shark attacks were no less common. There were 17 confirmed unprovoked shark encounters that resulted in injury to 14 people.

Types of sharks found in Australia

Australia, with its 25,760 kilometres of coastline, is home to the world’s highest diversity of shark species. Around 170 of the world’s 400 species of shark inhabit Australian waters. All 12 shark species known for unprovoked attacks are found in Australian waters.

Over the past 20 years just 3 shark species have been responsible for fatal attacks – the Great White, Tiger and Bull sharks.

Looking to get you First Aid knowledge up to date?

We run certified First Aid courses throughout all major Acustralian citys. Find a location near you.

When and where do shark attacks occur?

Shark encounters are on the increase and can occur at any time of the year, however, the peak period is between November and April.

Australia is known for its beach culture. With the 6th-longest coastline in the world and nearly 12,000 pristine beaches, the coastal zone is also where more than 80% of Australians live. Around Australia during 2020-2021, there were estimated to have been a staggering 500 million individual beach visits.

The 3 major coastal areas of Australia include Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, which consistently account for more than 80% of shark attacks and fatalities.

Worldwide shark attack statistics by location 2011-2020
Worldwide shark attack statistics by location 2011-2020

How many shark attacks happen world-wide?

Around the world during the past decade, 77 shark attacks have occurred each year, on average. About 10% of these attacks proved fatal.

Most shark attacks happened between 8am and 6pm, with more on weekends during the warmer seasons. Most frequently, shark attacks occur in nearshore waters – particularly between sandbars or at steep drop-offs.

The USA, historically, is where shark attacks have occurred most frequently. Over the past 20 years, Florida has been the consistent leader on the USA shark attack tally board. In 2020, Florida represented 48% of all cases.

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