This spectacular bird needs our help! Find Out More ▶

The Australian Shark Attack File (ASAF) is the most comprehensive database on shark attacks and has a long-term scientific documented database containing information on all known Australian encounters that meet the criteria for inclusion. Initiated in 1984, the ASAF currently has more than 970 individual investigations housed on the File, covering the period 1791 to the present (as of last update).

All shark attack cases reported undergo a comprehensive review of the encounter details available, investigations are undertaken by qualified biologists where possible, questionnaires are sent to the victim or witnesses and surf life saving, police and Coronial reports are gathered where possible, making the ASAF as accurate as possible. As information is gathered through research the details on any case can change to reflect the new information and figures can change occasionally.

The ASAF provides case histories, reports and statistics from the Australian region to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF). It also supplies advice on shark attack issues to goverment agencies, state fisheries, shark researchers, university researchers, local councils, coastal managers, beach safety professionals, the media and the general public. Information requests exceed 400 annually. Detailed information on individual shark attack incidents is held by the ASAF, however, these records are only available to qualified scientific researchers for reasons of confidentiality and to protect the privacy of those affected by such incidents.

Shark Attacks in Perspective.

Compared to injuries and fatalities from other forms of water related activities the number of shark attacks in Australia is extremely low. In the last 50 years there have been 45 unprovoked shark attack fatalities which averages just under one per year (0.9). While there is a element of risk in any activity humans undertake the rick of being injured or killed by a shark must be viewed in perspective. The following figures are presented to illustrate the risk of injury or death compared to other water related activities in Australia.

Unprovoked Cases Last 100 Years Only:

State

# Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

Last Unprovoked Fatality

NSW

202

48

106

48

Byron Bay 2014

QLD

159

56

89

14

Palm Island 2011

WA

78

14

52

12

Gracetown  2013

SA

41

13

21

7

Goldsmith Beach 2014

VIC

32

4

18

10

Mornington Peninsula 1987

TAS

9

1

5

3

Tenth Island 1993

NT

8

1

6

1

Cobourg Peninsula 1934

 Total Unprovoked

 529

 137

 297

 95

 

 Provoked Cases Last 100 Years Only:

 

# Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

Total

275

34

187

54

ALL Cases for the Last 100 Years Only:

  #Cases Fatal Injured Uninjured
Total 804 171 484

149

*Last update 10/12/2014

All Cases Since 1791:

 

#Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

All Cases since 1791 

972

228

577

167

 

 

 

 

 

Total - Unprovoked

651

182

364

105

Total - Provoked

321

46

213

62

*Statistics can be requested for State by State breakdown.

The Royal Life Saving Society, National Drowning Report 2013 notes an average of 297 deaths per year for people drowning over the last 10 years in Australia. During the period 2000- 2007 the Royal Life Saving (NSW) Receational Fishing Report 2011 states that 74 rock fishermen were swept off the rocks and drowned (an average of 9 per year). There were 176 diving related deaths in Australia bewteen 2002-2009, an average of 22 per year  (Provisional Report on Diving Related Fatalities in Australian Waters 2002-2009). The average fatalities for shark attack over the last 50 years is just under one per year (0.9).

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 (eg numbers of recorded attacks and their outcomes are subject to change reflecting the new information available and new cases as they occur).