Sharks are apex predators that live in every ocean throughout the world. Over 500 species of these fish exist today. Many species, like great white sharks, are exceptional hunters and pose a serious threat to humans. Although shark attacks are exceedingly rare, they do happen in the Caribbean Sea. Discover the 5 Caribbean Islands with the most shark attacks recorded in history! Specifically, this list will focus on unprovoked shark attacks only, and it will use statistics gathered by the Florida Museum.
This list is not meant to be alarmist. Rather, it is simply meant to be informative, and the list should provide readers with the perspective that shark attacks are a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, people need to be aware of the fact that every time they go into the ocean, they’re traveling into sharks’ natural habitat. While humans are not typical fare for sharks, they can and will attack people from time to time.
5. U.S. Virgin Islands
|Number of Unprovoked Shark Attacks||4|
People from the U.S. Virgin Islands experienced just four unprovoked shark attacks since the 18th century. The islands included in this region are Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Saint John, and other small islands in the region. The entire land area of this region is about 134 square miles.
Millions of tourists visit this area every year, and that is the region’s biggest industry. Although many people enjoy the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, few people encounter sharks. However, that does not mean sharks are not in the area.
Many species of sharks live in the waters near the island, including:
Tiger sharks are deadly hunters and one of the most dangerous fish in these waters. They were one of two species suspected of taking part in the deadliest shark attack in human history. All in all, the U.S. Virgin Islands have had very few unprovoked shark attacks.
|Number of Unprovoked Shark Attacks||4|
Surprisingly, Haiti is tied with the U.S. Virgin Islands for its number of shark attacks. Haiti has experienced just four attacks since the 18th century, showing just how rare it is for these attacks to occur.
This country is not a tourist destination like others on this list. Still, the country has a population of over 11,000,000 people. So, shark attacks are not rare because of a lack of available people.
Haiti has many sharks in its waters, such as the great hammerhead shark, the oceanic whitetip shark, and the basking shark. Fortunately, shark attacks are very rare, averaging less than one per year.
3. Puerto Rico
|Number of Unprovoked Shark Attacks||11|
Puerto Rico is a gorgeous island in the Caribbean Sea, and it has experienced 11 confirmed shark attacks since the 18th century. The country has over 3 million residents, and it has a massive tourism industry. Many people travel to Puerto Rico to explore its national parks and beautiful beaches.
Even with millions of people taking to the waters each year, only 11 shark attacks have occurred in the region. The last fatal shark attack in the country happened in 2022. During that incident, a woman from Pennsylvania was snorkeling when she was attacked and killed by a bull shark. It is important to remember that shark attacks are very rare, and only about 1 in 8 of them are fatal.
|Number of Unprovoked Shark Attacks||13|
Cuba is the largest of all the Caribbean Islands, and it also has the second most shark attacks on record with 13. However, a Cuban newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, claims that 44 shark attacks occurred in the country between 1956 and 2014.
A recent shark attack on the island occurred on March 29, 2023. A 17-year-old person was attacked while fishing and had to receive significant medical attention to survive.
Although it is unclear how many shark attacks have actually occurred in this region, this article will continue to use the data from the Florida Museum as a basis for information.
|Number of Unprovoked Shark Attacks||32|
The Bahamas has the most shark attacks of any of the Caribbean Islands, with 32 unprovoked shark attacks happening throughout its history.
The Bahamas refers to a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, this island nation contains hundreds of small islands spread over 5,358 square miles. The country is a popular destination for tourists, especially those who want to go swimming.
The vast number of people in the water brings them into close contact with many different sharks. There is nothing particularly unique about the Bahamas that makes it a hotbed for shark attacks other than the nation’s location in warm waters, the number of sharks in the Caribbean Sea, and the number of people that enter the water in the area.
It is important to bear in mind that these shark attacks occur in places with greater numbers of people in the water than average. This tropical region attracts millions of people seeking to experience its warm climate. While they are there, travelers will often swim in the inviting, warm waters.
Sharks share those waters. Sometimes, they attack humans to get an idea of what they are. They may also see the human as an infringement on their territory when they are trying to feed. No matter their motivation, shark attacks often have terrible outcomes for humans.
Summary of the 5 Caribbean Islands with the Most Shark Attacks
|5.||U.S. Virgin Islands||4|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.