10 Most Dangerous Places for Shark Attacks

Papua New Guinea
Fishing in Papua New Guinea.
Fishing in Papua New Guinea.
Oliver Strewe/Stone/Getty Images


­Papua New Guinea is the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, the world's largest tropical island [source: FAO]. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea has logged 49 shark attacks and 25 fatalities since 1925 [source: ISAF]. These numbers just edge out New Zealand, which has seen 47 attacks and 9 fatalities since 1852 [source: ISAF]. However, New Zealand has 9,404 miles (15,134 kilometers) of shoreline, while Papua New Guinea has but 3,201 miles (5,152 kilometers) of coast.

The waters of Papua New Guinea contain a wide array of marine environments, so divers from all over the world come to the island to see the immense variety of aquatic life, with shark dives one of the popular options. It's not clear if Papua New Guinea's shark attacks stem from divers and other tourists, or if the attacks stem from the local habit of fishing for sharks. Fisheries in Papua New Guinea exported $1.2 million in shark fin products in 1999 [source: FAO].

More traditional means of fishing still exist here as well, and reflect the fact that sharks have always been a part of the natives' lives. Some residents of Papua New Guinea, particularly in the province of New Ireland, still practice an ancient art called shark calling. Shark callers claim to commune with shark spirits, drawing them near through ritual songs and prayers. When the shark comes to the boat, the caller places a noose on it, clubs it and takes it home for the villagers to eat [source: Jensen].

Not ready to call a shark to the side of your boat? The next spot on our list may have more attacks than Papua New Guinea, but the sharks are generally mild. Turn the page to find out about this southern spot.

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