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.
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.
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.
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.
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.