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This page has been archived and kept as a reference. Content on this page may be out of date.

Compiled by Barry Tobin

General information about shark attack fatalities

his article is in response to being often asked if sharks should be killed or swimming areas fenced off because they pose a threat to humans.

When we read or hear about someone being attacked by a shark it has a very emotive affect on most of us, but It is important to put this issue in perspective.

A few facts

In the USA in the 30 years 1970-2000 ~ 12 people died from shark attacks, in this same period ~ 1,500 people died from lighting strikes in coastal regions. These figures are only from coastal regions so as not to inflate the number of deaths from lighting strikes.

Each year worldwide there are ~ 10 deaths attributable to shark attacks compared with ~ 150 deaths worldwide caused by falling coconuts.

More people each year are killed by elephants, crocodiles, bees, and wars and many other dangers that confront us, than by sharks.

Compare the number of deaths by shark attack with death as the result of a motor vehicle accident.

Remember there are ~10 deaths attributable to shark attacks worldwide.
USA - ~45,000 deaths by motor vehicle (pop ~250 million)
Thailand - ~ 60,000 deaths by motor vehicle (pop ~60 million)
Australia - ~ 3,000 deaths by motor vehicle (pop ~20 million)

We all have a duty of care to ourselves - so read the following:


What you can do to reduce your chances of being attacked

Australian facts and figure about shark attacks

-Australian Museum

Overseas information about sharks and shark attacks:


Dangerous Marine Animals of the Indo-Pacific Region, (Diving Centre Monograph on identification first aid and medical treatment) 2nd reprint, Wedneil Publications (Newport, 1978), Dr. Carl Edmonds.
Most recent published census from Australia and the USA and information from United Nations publications.