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Shark Attack Statistics

Great white shark. © Oceana/David StephensDespite their reputation, sharks are not man-eaters. Need proof? Here are the facts:

Which Species Attack?

Only about a dozen of the approximately 500 shark species should be considered potentially dangerous to humans. White, tiger and bull sharks are responsible for more than half of all shark attacks. 

How Many Attacks Are There?

Over the past five years (2006-2010), an average of 4.2 fatal shark attacks have taken place each year world-wide. Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 179 shark attacks occurred in the U.S., resulting in three fatalities.

Where Do U.S. Attacks Occur?

In the past five years, shark attacks have occurred in eight states. The majority of attacks occurred in Florida, but attacks are possible in any of the U.S. coastal states.

U.S. Shark Attacks from 2006 – 2010

State

Total Shark Attacks

Fatal

Non-fatal

Florida

110

1

109

Hawaii

18

0

18

California

14

2

12

South Carolina

15

0

15

North Carolina

12

0

12

Texas

4

0

4

Oregon

4

0

4

Georgia

2

0

2

Total

179

3

176

True Risk of Attack:

Considering that more than 200 million people visit U.S. beaches each year, the number of shark attacks is relatively small. Of those millions of beach goers each year, about 36 are attacked by sharks, while more than 30,000 need to be rescued from surfing accidents.

Risk of Beach Injuries and Fatalities:

Drowning and other beach-related fatalities:

1 in 2 million

Drowning fatalities:

1 in 3.5 million

Shark attacks:

1 in 11.5 million

Shark attack fatalities:

0 in 264.1 million

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The real threat is humans. For every one human killed by a shark, there are approximately 25 million sharks killed by humans.

 

*Shark attack figures are from the International Shark Attack File: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/ISAF/ISAF.htm