Where Sharks Attack
Know where sharks attack
When it comes to shark attacks, statistically speaking you have more chances of being killed by any number of freak accidents, before dying from a shark bite. Therefore it comes to beach and water sports the scuba diver is less likely to be attacked than the swimmer or the surfer. Being aware of your environment and limiting your potential interactions with these apex predators helps ensure a safe diving experience.
Only about 30 of the over 460 shark species in the world have been recorded in human attacks. Of these 30 species only a few have garnered a reputations of being considered dangerous. Probably the most feared of the elite few is the Great White Shark, which instilled panic in beach goers after the movie Jaws. It is important to know that not all waters are created equal when it comes to shark attack locations. A shark attack mecca requires a couple of simple ingredients. First you must have the presence of apex sharks and second you must have a large populace interacting in that environment.
Perth located in Western Australia is a known breeding area for sharks. Currently Western Australian Officials are conducting a study into the migratory patterns of sharks to better safeguard their ocean goers.
- New South Wales
New South Wales, Australia is a mecca for shark fatalities with over 60 recorded shark induced deaths. Most beaches are surrounded by protective nets and specially trained shark spotters. These protective measures have been responsible for a huge decline in shark related fatalities, however they come at the expense of the sharks. Every year shark species, become entangled in the nets and die, creating an environmental push to switch from nets to protective enclosures or cages.
Queensland, Australia has implemented the net protected beaches like many places in Australia and reaped the benefits of reduced attacks. Every year around 600 sharks will find themselves entangled in the nets with, about half of them exceeding 6 foot in length. Don’t get fooled into a false sense of security, even with the protective netting, shark attacks still happen and the unlucky victim if they survive will live with the aftermath of the attack for the rest of their lives.
- Other hot spot shark encounter beaches in Australia include:
Garden Island located in Sydney, Australia
Northern Territory located Australia
- Recife Beach
Recife located in Brazil is so hazardous that many people stay away from the beach. The construction of Porto Suape to the south of Recife Beach closed off the birthing grounds of Bull Sharks. Around 30% of the shark attacks in this area are unfortunately deadly and almost all are caused by displaced Bull Sharks. With their estuaries closed the sharks settled into a channel near Recife Beach creating an instant infestation of their 12 mile coastline.
- Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh located in Egypt is home to several Mako and Oceanic Whitetip sharks and is another example of a self induced problem. Unfortunately the cause of the problem is only speculation and maybe a result of some or all of the following. Massive dumping of sheep carcasses, Guides hand feeding sharks for their clients and over fishing. Most of the attacks are from multiple sharks that appear to be in a feeding frenzy.
- Reunion Island
In this region of France in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and is one of the most notorious shark attack locations in the world. At one point in time a ban on all water sports in the area except designated areas was the clearest indicator of a serious problem. The sharp increase in attacks followed the implementation as a marine reserve to protect resident animals.
- Dyer Island
Dyer Island located in Gansbaai, South Africa is nicknamed Shark Alley. With it’s seal population of well over 50,000 this location draws in the big boys with species like Great Whites, Tigers, Hammerheads and Bull Sharks. Dyer Island has all of the makings of an extremely hostile environment for people and with the spike in fatalities we need to exercise extreme caution in these waters.
- Second Beach
Second Beach located in Port St. Johns, South Africa has so many Great White Sharks that Cage Diving with sharks is a major tourist attraction. Unfortunately Cage Diving creates some nasty side effects and the results are increased attacks. Sharks are associating humans as easy food sources and are seeking them out in hopes of a meal. Most attacks occur in shallow waters and unfortunately many end in death.
- Surf Beach
Surf Beach located in Vandenberg, California is the home of hundreds of seals, which attract Great white sharks in numbers. Since most sharks need to be at least 10-12 feet in length to tackle a seal you can safely. You can assume that this is big shark territory. With big sharks any accidental bite is going to be a life threatening ordeal as catastrophic damage to your body is pretty much guaranteed.
- Other hot spot shark encounter beaches in California include:
- Stinson Beach part of the Bloody Triangle
- Bolinas Beach part of the Bloody Triangle
- Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach located in Brevard County is another Florida mecca for both sharks and people. A popular tourist destination it is not uncommon to see small sharks darting through the waters only a few feet from swimmers.
- Palm Beach
Most of us remember the CNN news report showing literally thousands of Blacktip sharks swimming just off Palm Beach located in Palm Beach County. The news casters warning beach-goers to stay out of the water while showing the footage in the background. In an attempt to salvage the tourist season NOAA produced a statement that the Blacktip shark has been responsible for a fatal attack in the area. Statements can be persuasive in one direction or the other and it is up to you to evaluate the risk versus the reward and make your own decision. Most dogs won’t kill you, but there are a lot that will bite you and we all know any bite hurts and some are disfiguring.
- Ponce de Leon Inlet
The Ponce de Leon Inlet sits at the intersection of the Halifax and Indian Rivers on the Atlantic coastline and is an opening in the barrier islands of central Florida. The dark murky waters attract significant numbers of bait-fish, which in-turn attracts Bull, Blacktip and Spinner sharks. September typically has the most human and shark incidents as it is the migratory return of sharks from their summer feeding grounds. Most shark attacks in this Volusia County playground are minor and caused by smaller sharks in the midst of feeding frenzies.
- New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach consistently ranks high on the shark attack circuit. The apex shark that is believed to be responsible for the majority of these attacks is non other than the Bull Shark. Located in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida and despite the number of attacks, people come in droves to enjoy the warm waters and sandy beach.
- Other hotspot shark encounter beaches in Florida include:
- Atlantic Beach located in Duval County
- Blind Creek Beach located in St. Lucie County
- Crescent Beach located in St. John’s County
- Jacksonville Beach located in Duval County
- Jensen Beach located in St. Lucie County
- Ponte Vedra Beach located in St. John’s County
- St. Augustine Beach located in St. John’s County
- Walton Rocks Beach located in St. Lucie County
- Makena Beach
Makena Beach located in Maui Hawaii is frequented by Tiger sharks hunting the many sea turtles in the area. Tiger sharks can reach lengths of 16 feet and weigh as much as 1,400 pounds. When it comes to the seriousness of a shark attack the tiger is second only to the Great White. This massive shark is noted for having the most diverse diet among sharks and is often referred to as a garbage eater. Sustaining a bite from this shark is definitely a life threatening ordeal and may result in loss of limbs or life.
- Velzyland Beach
Velzyland Beach located on Oahu Island, Hawaii is a favorite beach among surfers and hunting haunt of Tiger Sharks. These large sharks are reponsible for several significant bites and at least 6 fatalities.
- Other hot spot shark encounter beaches in Hawaii include:
- Hanalei Bay Beach located in Kaua‘i, Hawaii
- Pakala beach located in Kaua‘i, Hawaii
- Pila‘a Beach located in Kaua‘i, Hawaii
- Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach located in Horry County is the most dangerous beach in the state for shark attacks. Since the Continental shelf and its vast food supply is located far from the beach swimmers and sharks rarily interact. Fatalities at this beach are rare, but with the presence of both Tiger and Bull sharks the possibility is ever present.