PNG: 10th in World for Shark Attacks
Did you know that? I had no idea either which is why I decided to blog about it.
Now I’ve seen my fair share of sharks in my short life (that doesn’t include observing them from behind glassed walls) and I have enormous respect for these beasts of the sea.
Two incidents stick out in my mind. The first a trawling expedition somewhere in the New Guinea Islands where the aim of the game was to try our luck targeting a school of tuna we randomly came across.
We hooked a couple, pulled in the third, then realised 95% of its body was gone. Deciding to test the waters, we threw in a quarter bucket of blood and within 1 minute our 18 foot 40HP dinghy was plagued and being jostled by the thrashing frenzy of 20+ blood-choked sharks – a sight I will never forget.
The second incident occurred when I was spear fishing – again in the New Guinea Islands. We had all split up and out of the blue a 3-4m shark (unidentified) decided to hunt the hunters. It forcefully circled around us the whole day – often disappearing then always appearing when you least expected it. It never came closer than 10m but it still warranted having somebody watch out for its dark shadow from the canoe.
As for being the victim of a shark attack? No, well, in light of the fact that PNG is the 10th most dangerous place in the world for shark attacks – not yet.
Here is the Top 10 as composed by the International Shark Attack File:
- Volusia County – Florida, USA
- South Africa
- New South Wales – Australia
- Hawaii – USA
- Queensland – Australia
- Brevard County – Florida, USA
- California – USA
- South Carolina – USA
- Papua New Guinea
Volusia County (210 attacks) actually falls short of the total number of shark attacks (South Africa has the most at 214 attacks) but is ranked first because it’s a county and has a much smaller coastline than South Africa.
PNG, on the other hand, is ranked first in Oceania with a total of 49 reported attacks (25 fatal) since 1925 – the last being in 2000. Fiji follows PNG in the region with 22 total attacks (8 fatal) and the last being in 2003.
These statistics were last updated February 5, 2008