Aust a shark attack hot spot: US study

A tiger shark. Photo Willy Volk/

A tiger shark. Photo Willy Volk/

Australia remains a global shark attack hot spot, with the nation recording its highest number of unprovoked attacks in six years.

The International Shark Attack File, an annual worldwide study collated in the US, determined there were 18 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia in 2015, with 12 in NSW and one fatality.

In 2009 Australia had 22 unprovoked attacks.

The ISAF also found across the globe last year that there were 98 unprovoked attacks, beating the previous record of 88 set in 2000.

The rise came as no surprise to ISAF curator George Burgess, who noted the combination of rebounding shark populations and more humans in the water made increased attacks inevitable.

“Sharks plus humans equals attacks,” Mr Burgess said.

“As our population continues to rapidly grow and shark populations slowly recover, we’re going to see more interactions.”

There were six unprovoked fatal attacks worldwide in 2015, with two off the Indian Ocean island of Reunion and one each in Australia, the US, Egypt and New Caledonia.

The US, with its abundant, populated coastline, led the world in unprovoked attacks with 59, then Australia’s 18 and South Africa third with eight.

The ISAF, owned by the Smithsonian Institution and housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History, found 49 per cent of the attacks worldwide in 2015 involved surfers, 42 per cent were swimmers or waders and nine per cent snorkellers.

There were no attacks on SCUBA divers during the year.

The ISAF recommends a “proactive response” if attacked by a shark by hitting on the nose ideally with an inanimate object which usually temporarily curtails an attack.

2 responses to “Aust a shark attack hot spot: US study”

  1. Jon says:

    ‘…12 in NSW and one fatality’

    Why do people keep promoting this myth, the tourist agencies, local councils worried about scaring away the tourists?

    There were 3 fatalities in the last year, the one at Byron, one at Ballina and, I think, the other was at Lennox. Even the ABC is forgetting two of the deaths when they do a report about shark attacks in the region.

  2. Each long weekend in Australia we loose around twenty Australians in car accidents. Around the world more people die from falling coconuts or bee stings. Of cause it is horrific to be eaten alive, but lets put it into perspective, with all the people swimming in the ocean every day around the world, the chances of being attacked is very slim.

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