10 Most Dangerous Places for Shark Attacks

Queensland, Australia
The bull shark is one of the three most dangerous sharks.
The bull shark is one of the three most dangerous sharks.
Zac Macaulay/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

In 2006, Sarah Kate Whitley was swimming near Brisbane in water no higher than her waist when she was attacked by three bull sharks, which tore off both of her arms while biting her stomach and legs [source: Cratchley]. Her death is just one of Queensland's 50 fatalities and 182 attacks since 1700 [source: ISAF].

Australia is home to 166 shark species [source: Modofsky]. You could run into one of them anywhere on the seaboard, but the eastern coast of this country is particularly prone to attacks because it's so densely populated. Australia's eastern coast is made up two large states: Queensland and New South Wales. These two states rival each other for the most dangerous coastline in Australia. If you only count statistics from 1957 to the present, Queensland is more dangerous, with 22 of Australia's 57 shark attack fatalities [source: Cratchley]. Overall, New South Wales has more attacks, but we'll get to them later on this list.

Some of Queensland's beaches are protected by drumlines, or baited hooks meant to catch sharks, as well as some protective netting. Nets are designed to catch sharks more than 6.6 feet (2 meters) in length, so that the more dangerous sharks aren't coming in close to shore [source: Queensland Government]. The government must constantly defend the practice to environmentalists, however. In 2005, in response to outcry about a baby humpback whale killed in the nets, the Queensland government released figures relating to the nets' success. In one year, 630 sharks were caught; 298 of those were greater than 6.6 feet (2 meters), including a 17-foot (5.2-meter) tiger shark [source: Murtagh and Mancuso].

Would you go surfing at a place named Leftovers Break, or would you be too worried about becoming shark leftovers? Find out where this charmingly named spot is located on the next page.

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