Latest Figures

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

203

47

105

51  Tathra 2014

QLD

208

67

126

15

 Palm Island 2011

WA

86

19

53

14

 **Dawesville Cut 2014

SA

43

17

20

6

 Coffin Bay 2011

VIC

33

4

19

10

 Mornington Peninsula 1987

TAS

11

2

6

3

 Tenth Island 1993

NT

11

2

7

2

 Bathurst Island 1938

Total

595

158

336

101

 

**=Preliminary record awaiting confirmation

Provoked Cases Last 100 Years Only:

 

# Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

Total

191

12*

130

49

* Last Provoked Fatality = Yorke Peninsula SA 2014

ALL Cases for the Last 100 Years Only:

  #Cases Fatal Injured Uninjured
Total 786 170 466

150

*Last update 3/4/2014

All Cases Since 1791:

 

#Cases

Fatal

Injured

Uninjured

All Cases since 1791 

956

228

559

169

 

 

 

 

 

Total - Unprovoked

738

212

412

114

Total - Provoked

218

16

147

55

*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 51 recorded unprovoked fatalities due to shark attack, which averages around one per year. Based on the same calculations used by the International Shark Attack File for the 'annual risk of death during one's lifetime' from various activities in America - Australia has a 1 in 3,362 chance of drowning at the beach and a 1 in 292,525 chance of being killed by a shark in one's entire lifetime.

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).