Shark Attack Statistics (to 2013)

The tables below list the recorded unprovoked* shark attacks from around the world since records began in 1580. They have been aggregated and are held by the International Shark Attack File (ISAF).

The ISAF, the longest running authority on shark attacks, has a long-term scientifically documented database containing information on all known shark attacks, and is the only globally-comprehensive, source of scientific shark attack information in the world.

The “Big Three”

Of the 33 species listed only 10 have resulted in a confirmed fatality. As you can see the “Big Three” (great white, tiger & bull shark) are the main culprits far outnumbering other species in both total shark attacks and fatalities. Whilst we can take this at face value it would be unwise to make any other assumptions as to the quality of the rest of the data. Making a correct identification of many shark species is difficult under any circumstances. Actually getting it right during an attack is even trickier. In some cases tooth fragments were left behind, or the shark responsible was caught. In many cases though there is a bias towards sharks that people are familiar with

Global shark attacks by species (since records began)
Common nameSpecies nameTotalNon fatalFatal
Great WhiteCarcharodon carcharias27219874
TigerGaleocerdo cuvier1007129
BullCarcharhinus leucas926626
Unidentified requiemCarcharhinus spp.30237
Sand TigerCarcharias taurus30291
BlacktipCarcharhinus limbatus28280
Bronze WhalerCarcharhinus brachyurus19181
HammerheadSphyrna spp.17170
SpinnerCarcharhinus brevipinna16160
BluePrionace glauca1394
Shortfin MakoIsurus oxyrinchus12111
Blacktip ReefCarcharhinus melanopterus11110
WobbegongOrectolobus spp.11110
Oceanic WhitetipCarcharhinus longimanus1073
NurseGinglymostoma cirratum10100
LemonNegaprion brevirostris10100
SandOdontaspis spp.990
Grey reefCarcharhinus amblyrhynchos770
SandbarCarcharhinus plumbeus550
SevengillNotorynchus cepedianus550
Whitetip ReefTriaenodon obesus550
Caribbean ReefCarcharhinus perezi440
MakoIsurus spp.440
Spotted WobbegongOrectolobus maculatus440
SilkyCarcharhinus falciformis330
DuskyCarcharhinus obscurus211
PorbeagleLamna nasus220
GalapagosCarcharhinus galapagensis101
Unidentified LamniformCarcharias spp.101
TopeGaleorhinus galeus110
Port JacksonHeterodontis portusjacksoni110
CookiecutterIsistius brasiliensis110
GuitarfishRhinobatos spp.110
LeopardTriakis semifasciata110
Southern FiddlerTrygonorrhina fasciata110
TOTALS 739590149


Global shark attack by region (since records began)
RegionTotal AttacksFatal AttacksLast Fatality
United States excl Hawaii1022362012
Pacific Islands excl Hawaii125502011
South America112252013
Caribbean & Bahamas67161972
Central America62272011
New Zealand4992013
Not specified / Open Ocean2071995

*Unprovoked shark attacks are those that are initiated by the shark, in the shark’s natural habitat and without any human provocation. They generally fall into 3 categories:

  • Hit and run attack – the least serious and most common. Here the shark takes a quick bite and leaves. These appear to be the result of mistaken identity which the shark realises after it has bitten the victim.
  • Sneak attack – here the victim is unaware of the shark until the moment of attack. Such attacks may result in more than one deep bite and are not believed to result from mistaken identity. These attacks or the most serious and often result in a fatality.
  • Bump and bite attack – In this kind of attack the shark may circle and bump the victim before launching an attack. The results can be fatal and are not believed to be due to mistaken identity.