10 Most Dangerous Places for Shark Attacks


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Papua New Guinea
A ship docks on Manus island in Papua, New Guinea. HADI ZAHER/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 48 shark attacks since 1848 [source: ISAF]. That's more than New Zealand, which has seen 39 attacks 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.

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].

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