Shark Attacks & Fatalities

For further information, see the ISAF Worldwide Shark Attack Summary

Outcome of Unprovoked Shark Attacks on Divers


The majority of shark attacks on divers are not fatal. This does not mean that divers should be less careful in the water, but it does support the idea that sharks are not hunting humans for food. Fatal attacks are usually the result of significant blood loss and stress. One theory suggests that sharks will bite their prey to make sure it is edible before eating it. Once this 'prey' item is identified as an unnatural source of food, the shark will swim away to find more suitable food elsewhere.

Last updated: June 21, 2013

Unprovoked Shark Attacks on Divers and Percent Fatal


Use this graph with CAUTION, remembering that scientific and media coverage of shark attack during the early part of this century was far less inclusive than that of today. This graph indicates an overall increase in the numbers of reported shark attacks over the last century. This apparent trend is a reflection of increased numbers of people utilizing the ocean, and enhanced media coverage over the last century. These data do NOT support an increase in the per capita attack rate on divers worldwide. The apparent drop in number of attacks in the 1970s occurred at a time when the ISAF was not as active due to lack of funding. 

Last updated: June 21, 2013

© International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida