Shark Attack Hotspots of the World Revealed in Freaky Interactive Map

by Amy Myers

With roughly a billion sharks in the world, attacks on humans are relatively rare, but because of the gruesome nature of these encounters, they often make it into news headlines. There are, of course, areas of the world where attacks are more common. This is why the International Shark Attack File has compiled a map that documents each reported “unprovoked” encounter from 1900 to 2021.

According to the Florida Museum, the ISAF is the only comprehensive database that documents all known shark attacks.

The map lays out fatal and nonfatal attacks across the world, the majority of which happen along U.S. coastlines. Meanwhile, a considerable amount occurs along the coasts of Australia, South Africa as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Since 1580, the U.S. has reported 1,563 unprovoked attacks. Meanwhile, Australia has had 682 attacks, and the Republic of South Africa has had 258 attacks.

“Initiated in 1958, there are now more than 6,800 individual investigations covering the period from the early 1500s to the present,” the ISAF explained.

Explore the map here.

Map Demonstrates Circumstances of Shark Attacks

Florida, itself, saw 28 shark attacks in 2021 alone. Most of the aquatic attackers responsible for these incidents were requiem sharks, which are members of the family Carcharhinidae. These include species like black tip, spinner and sandbar sharks. The ISAF estimates that the majority of the requiem attacks that occur in Florida are from black tips.

“Following recent trends, surfers and those participating in board sports accounted for most incidents (51 percent of the total cases),” Florida Museum said. “This group spends a large amount of time in the surf zone, an area commonly frequented by sharks, and may unintentionally attract sharks by splashing, paddling and ‘wiping out.'” 

Swimmers and waders accounted for 39 percent of incidents, and 10 percent belonged to snorklers/free-divers and body surfers.

Florida Museum Says Increase in Attacks Are ‘Not Cause for Alarm’

Last year, there were a total of 73 shark attacks, and 47 occurred in the U.S. Only one of these was actually fatal. According to the Florida Museum, this number is up 42 percent from the 33 incidents in 2020.

The increase in shark attacks may seem alarming to beachgoers and water sport enthusiasts. However, the museum stressed that there’s no need to panic.

“While the incidence of fatal bites in 2021 was higher than is typical, we do not consider this cause for alarm,” it reported.

Additionally, the museum stated there is no evidence that the recent spike in shark attacks is because of any “natural phenomenon.”

“Rather it is likely the consequence of chance, a conclusion underscored by the fact that the number of unprovoked bites is in line with recent five-year trends,” the museum concluded.