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:  

  1. Volusia County – Florida, USA
  2. South Africa
  3. New South Wales – Australia
  4. Hawaii – USA
  5. Queensland – Australia
  6. Brevard County – Florida, USA
  7. Brazil
  8. California – USA
  9. South Carolina – USA
  10. 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.

1925-2007 Map of Oceania/Pacific Ocean Islands Confirmed Unprovoked Shark Attacks (N=125)

1925-2007 Map of Oceania/Pacific Ocean Islands Confirmed Unprovoked Shark Attacks.


These statistics were last updated February 5, 2008

~ by Tavurvur on November 6, 2008.

5 Responses to “PNG: 10th in World for Shark Attacks”

  1. Hmmm and I thought our Sharks were well fed so they didn’t need to attack us

  2. There’s a theory that says that technically shark attacks aren’t increasing – more people means more attacks.

    Makes sense I think.

  3. It sure does make sense that more people would mean more attacks. I remember being out a beach on Yule Island in 2001 messing about and swimming as you do. Several days later when meeting up with my cousin he told us that the day after we’d been swimming they’d seen sharks not too far from the beach.

  4. Far out. Lucky or what? I’m not too sure which would be worse: A shark attack or a croc attack…

  5. I would be a little wary of those stats. The most common shark attacks in Australia are by Wobbegongs. An attack by a Wobbegong might draw some blood, but there would be very little chance of a fatality. A dog attack would be more dangerous.

    Sharks are often seen off the beaches of Australia, & I saw quite a few in PNG recently (Keviang). They are around but very rarely attack people (less than one a year avg). Crocodiles on the other hand …

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