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Analysis of all unprovoked case histories from the Australian Shark Attack File indicates that 29 percent are fatal. This is consistent with the International figures of 30 percent fatality rate.

The earliest Australian recorded shark attack was in 1791, an indigenous female on the North Coast of NSW (fatal). The last fatal attack in Sydney Harbour occurred in 1963 (Marcia Hathaway) in Middle Harbour.

Unprovoked Cases Last 100 Years Only:

State

# Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

Last Unprovoked Fatality

NSW

202

47

105

50

Tathra 2014

QLD

160

56

90

14

Palm Island 2011

WA

77

14

51

12

Gracetown  2013

SA

40

13

21

6

Goldsmith Beach 2014

VIC

32

4

18

10

Mornington Peninsula 1987

TAS

9

1

5

3

Tenth Island 1993

NT

8

1

6

1

Bathurst Island 1938

Provoked Cases Last 100 Years Only:

 

# Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

Total

274

34

185

55

ALL Cases for the Last 100 Years Only:

  #Cases Fatal Injured Uninjured
Total 802 170 481

151

*Last update 22/7/2014

All Cases Since 1791:

 

#Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

All Cases since 1791 

973

229

575

169

 

 

 

 

 

Total - Unprovoked

652

183

363

106

Total - Provoked

321

46

212

63

*Statistics can be requested for State by State breakdown.

Shark Attacks In Perspective

Compared to fatalities from other forms of water related activity the number of fatal shark attacks in Australia is extremely low. In the last 50 years, there have been 57 recorded unprovoked fatalities due to shark attack, which averages just over one (1.14) per year. There is an element of risk in any activity we undertake. To put the risk of being killed by a shark into perspective, the following figures illustrate the risk of death associated with other water related activities in Australia.

There are an average of 121 deaths per year from people drowning at Auatralian beaches, harbours and rivers each year (Royal Life Saving Society National Drowning Report 2011). During the period 1969-2000, in NSW alone, 218 rock fishermen were swept off the rocks and drowned. In that same period 40 shark encounters were recorded in NSW with only two fatalities reported. Diving related deaths in Australia 1945 - 1987 = 292 (Diving Accident Management in Australia, 1988).

Any use of this information in any publication must contain appropriate accreditation to the Australian Shark Attack File, Taronga Zoo. The database is dymanic and regularly updated and revised (eg numbers of recorded attacks and their outcomes are subject to change reflecting the new information available and new cases as they occur).