10 Most Dangerous Places for Shark Attacks


Queensland, Australia

Whiteheaven Beach, Queensland
Surf's up at Whiteheaven Beach, Queensland, Australia. naphakm/Getty Images

In 2006, Sarah Kate Whiley 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. Her friends ignored her scream at first, thinking it was a joke. Until they saw blood in the water [source: Chipperfield]. Whiley's death is just one of Queensland's 189 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 of two large states: Queensland and New South Wales. These two states rival each other for the most dangerous coastline in Australia. Between 1917 and 2017, Queensland had 52 shark attack fatalities out of 134 fatalities in Australia [source: Taronga].

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].