Shark Attack File Clarification

Shark Attack File Clarification from us Shark Attack Survivors

Many people wonder why our information is so much different than the information from the International Shark Attack File (ISAF).

We both start off getting reports of shark attack. We both investigate and confirm the incident happened. At this point the number of attacks is pretty much equal. In 2013 we have reports of 120 incidents while the ISAF investigated 125.

The ISAF takes it one step further and tries to confirm the incident was not provoked by a human and the incident meets their guidelines to become a confirmed to be unprovoked shark attack. In 2013 they were able to confirm 72 of the 125 investigated shark attacks met their guidelines. It does not mean there were only 72 shark attacks in 2013 it only means there were 72 shark attacks that met their guidelines.

This table will show you how the 125 attacks were divided up in 2013 by the ISAF.

Shark Attacks & Shark Attack Related Incidents
No Shark Involved 6 Investigated & Could not Confirm Shark Involvement.
Confirmed Unprovoked 72 Investigated & Confirmed & Confirmed Unprovoked.
Provoked 28 Investigated & Confirmed.
Not Enough Evidence 11 Investigated & Confirmed but could not confirm Unprovoked.
Marine Vessel / Boat 4 Investigated & Confirmed.
Air or Sea disaster 2 Investigated & Confirmed.
Scavenged 2 Investigated & Confirmed.
Investigated Total 125 Investigated not Reported


If you minus the “no shark involvement” (6) from the ISAF 125 they have 119 incidents involving sharks while we have 120 we are both even closer.

We ask all ocean goers to use some common sense prior to entering the ocean. Do your own investigation for the area you plan to visit and the activity you plan to participate in. You set your own guidelines for the information that’s important to you and remember only 15% of the world reports shark attacks. 90% of all reported incidents happen at English speaking countries who believe in freedom of the press.

Here is a good example of how the ISAF guidelines might differ from your guidelines.

12/02/2013 – Patrick Briney – Hawaii – *** Fatal *** Patrick was fishing for little baitfish with his feet dangling in the water. Bam big shark rips off his foot and he dies. This incident does not meet the ISAF guidelines so it is not counted in all those fancy graphs, tables, and charts. Persons kayak fishing should take notice don’t dangle your feet in the water while fishing it provokes sharks to attack.

Learn from our experiences we don’t want to add your name to our SAS sites or see you referenced as a number in next year’s summary.

ISAF shark attack file summary 2013

ISAF shark attack file summary 2013

If you should have any questions contact us or contact the ISAF they supply these figures every year. We just made them a little easier to understand.


  1. James

    Interesting. In my opinion, it is fair to discount certain categories of “provoked” attacks, such as incidents whereby a shark retaliates after being handled by a diver or hooked on a fishing line. In addition, “attacks” on marine vessels/boats should be discounted given the occupants of the boats (i.e. the humans) are not visible to the shark. Contrary to ISAF guidelines, it would seem obvious to include predation on air/sea disaster victims.

  2. Hi James,
    Thanks for the input.

    We don’t have anything against the shark, but feel persons entering the water should be aware of the actual risks not relative risks like coconuts while in the water with sharks.

    Sharks biting boats does give us a small look at how sharky an area could be and the sharks are checking out things floating on the surface.

    The ISAF guidelines reports there have been 3 incidents in French Polynesia. 

    According to a scientific study released in 2005, scuba divers were involved in the majority (46 percent) of 54 recorded shark attacks and bites that occurred in French Polynesia. But in all these bite incidents, the divers were performing ‘ shark feeding ‘. So fish blood or flesh close to the victims appears to have worked as a stimulus on sharks. The author noted that shark feeding should be considered as a major factor of such bite incidents ( Ref. C. Maillaud et al. 2005 ).

    We know of around 10 more incidents occurring in French Polynesia since 2005 and also know shark feeding dives have increased in recent years. With a common sense approach one could estimate there has been between 80 to 100 incidents that have occurred in French Polynesia waters. 

    We feel there is such a giant margin from the ISAF 3 to Maillaud 54 or a common sense estimate of 100. We ask persons to research a little more than visiting the ISAF site or those using the ISAF figures. 

    The reason they don’t include Air/Sea Disasters is there are way too many people who have been involved in these type incidents and in these incidents the shark is always preying on the human as food, not a pretty thought. Remember they say sharks don’t like the taste of humans. 

    Hearing the sound of a small plane overhead, some of the 15 to 20 swimmers in the open sea 20 miles off the Dominican Republic gestured frantically for help. The plane was unable to put down on water, however, and its occupants could only look on in helpless horror at the scene unfolding beneath them. The swimmers, passengers on a sinking people-smuggling ship bound for Puerto Rico, were under siege by dozens of sharks. “In one instance we saw a shark literally throw someone in the air and then attack the person,” recalled one of the witnesses, Eugenio Cabral, the Dominican Republic’s director of civil defense. “It was just unbearable not being able to do anything for them.” As more of the swimmers were devoured, the blue waters around them turned red.

     “If we had helicopters, we could have pulled some of those people out of the water. Instead, all we could do was watch as the sharks attacked them.”


  3. James

    Hi Al,

    Thanks for the additional clarification. I can see why it’s useful to list all types of incident so that the information is available to ocean goers who can make a considered decision as regards the potential threats and take precautions as necessary.

    I have previously viewed the Global Shark Attack File, which lists provoked incidents. Is there much difference in the approach of GSAF compared to SAS in terms of recording incidents?


  4. Hi James,
    The GSAF and SAS work together along with some other science org’s. The GSAF does list the provoked, air/sea disaster, and scavenged also. The trick word is they LIST them, not just blow them off and only use the conformed to be unprovoked. They actually follow the guidelines which were used by the ISAF#1. The ISAF#1 counted Rodney Fox as someone attacked by a shark the ISAF#2 Rodney was kicked out.
    Here at SAS we actually don’t focus on how the incident happened, but focus on the fact that the incident happened and the pain and suffering the person’s involved might be experiencing. We have basically three cat’s. 
    No injury – Some of these people have minor problems dealing with the incident.
    Injured – These people depending on the severity of the injury usually have minor to severe problems dealing with the incident.
    Fatal – It doesn’t matter if the person was killed or eaten. The loved ones are usually devastated.

    So we use these cat’s so we know where to focus our attention where it is needed most.


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