Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands, in the North Atlantic Ocean, connected to the Caribbean Sea. Therefore, it’s natural that some of the species of sharks of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic can be found around Barbados.
There are at least 40 species of sharks in Barbados. However, sightings are rare, especially for those swimming off the beaches. Sharks are more prominent after the coral reefs, especially on the Atlantic side. Finally, the chances of a shark attack in Barbados are astronomically low.
Read on to learn all about sharks in Barbados, including the most common species and details about the 4 shark attacks ever registered on the island.
Are There Sharks In Barbados? (Top 10 Most Common Sharks)
When it comes to sharks, just because you can’t see them does not mean they are not there. People don’t even imagine how chock-full of sharks most oceans are, including Barbados. But that’s not a reason to panic.
Incidents with sharks are very rare, even with the more aggressive species. Except for a few places on Earth, sharks are more likely to be away from the beaches. They are pretty timid and prefer to avoid contact with humans. That’s why it’s far to say that there are sharks in pretty much every arm of the oceans around the globe, but in most places, the chances of being attacked are close to zero.
There are at least 40 species of sharks in Barbados, but it’s not common to see them. Most of the sharks in Barbados are off the coral reefs on the Atlantic Ocean side. It’s not impossible for them to come for a closer look, but very unlikely. The top 10 most common sharks in Barbados are:
- Whale Shark
- Silky Shark
- Blue Shark
- Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
- Great Hammerhead Shark
- Shortfin Mako Shark
- Oceanic whitetip shark
- Caribbean Reef Shark
- Blacktip Reef Shark
- Tiger Shark
Those are not the only species of shark in Barbados, but they are the most common all over the Caribbean Islands, as confirmed by Cms Sharks Mou (Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks) public reports. In the next section, you’ll find details about every one of the most common species and a list of some other toothy, slicing-fin creatures that are casual visitors to the paradise of Barbados.
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Sharks In Barbados: Species Guide
A shark encounter swimming off the beaches of Barbados is very unlikely, especially on the West and South coasts, which are calmer. However, divers (and even snorkelers) can see some of these incredible creatures in the coral reefs.
Some species of sharks are caught by fishermen as well, and Tiger Sharks can sometimes be spotted on the North and Northeast coasts of Barbados. But most shark species are further out to sea, in the waters of the North Atlantic.
- Total Number of Shark Species In Barbados: At Least 40
- Most Frequently Species: Shortfin Mako Shark | Whale Shark | Silky Shark
- Most Dangerous/Aggressive Species: Oceanic Whitetip Shark
- Biggest Sharks Found In Barbados: Whale Sharks
In the following table, you can find more detailed information about the most common species of sharks near Barbados, including the gigantic Whale Shark, which can reach up to 18 meters (almost 60 ft). In addition, it is important to notice that despite some very aggressive species living near Barbados, shark attacks are close to zero on this beautiful Caribbean island.
|Species||Scientific Name||Max Size||Aggressiveness|
|Up to 18 meters!|
|Up to 3.5 m|
|Up to 4 m|
(Curious, Approach Humans)
|Scalloped Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna|
|Up to 4 m|
|Great Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna|
|Up to 6 m|
|Shortfin Mako Shark||Isurus|
|Up to 4 m|
|Oceanic Whitetip Shark||Carcharhinus|
|Up to 4 m|
|Caribbean Reef Shark||Carcharhinus|
|Up to 3 m|
(Poisonous to eat)
|Blacktip Reef Shark||Carcharhinus melanopterus||Up to 2.1 m|
|Up to 9 m|
|Very Aggressive |
The top 10 shark species shown in the table above are the most common, but at least 30 more have already been registered in Barbados. Here I list a few more of those species:
- Sevengill shark
- Cuban dogfish
- Caribbean Lanternshark
- Bigeye thresher shark
- Thresher shark
- Basking shark
- Great white shark
- Dusky smoothhound
- Narrowfun smoothhound
- Blacknose shark
- Bignose shark
- Spinner shark
- Galapagos shark
- Finetooth shark
- Blacktip shark
- Dusky shark
- Smalltail shark
- Lemon shark
- Caribbean Sharpnose shark
- Smooth hammerhead
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Barbados: Shark Attacks Data
Doing extensive research on shark attacks databases and reports around the globe, I was able to find only five incidents in Barbados, three of them with fatal victims. However, the last of them dates back to 1922, about a hundred years ago.
The five incidents were confirmed by researchers of the investigation team of GSAF (Global Shark Attack File), and the attacks were publicized in newspapers on the respective dates.
|01 Jan 1700||Barbados||Unknown||Bathing||Unprovoked||Yes|
|26 Mar 1703||Southwest Coast||Carlisle Bay||Swimming||Unprovoked||No|
|10 Aug 1786||Barbados||Unknown||Washing Himself||Unprovoked||Yes|
|21 Nov 1895||St Michael Parish||Bridgetown||Diving for coins||Unprovoked||No|
|29 Sep 1922||Lucy||Pie Corner||Fishing||Unprovoked||Yes|
Where can you see sharks in Barbados? The best place to see sharks in Barbados is up on the North and Northeast coasts, where Tiger Sharks can eventually be spotted. Also, in the coral reefs, it’s possible to see some small, non-aggressive reef sharks. However, shark sightings are rare in Barbados.
What sharks are native to Barbados? There are no sharks native specifically to Barbados but the Caribbean Islands. Some good examples are the Caribbean Reef Shark, the Caribbean Lanternshark, and the Caribbean Sharpnose shark. In total, more than 40 species of shark were already found in Barbados.
Are there great white sharks in Caribbean? Great White sharks are becoming more common visitors to the warm waters of the Caribbean, despite their usual preference for cooler waters. One of the possible reasons is the fact that Great Whites are breeding in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Shark Attack Data: https://www.sharkattackdata.com/place/spain
- Global Shark Attack File (GSAF): https://www.sharkattackfile.net/
- Florida Museum: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/
- International Shark Attack File (ISAF): https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks/
- Barbados (CMS SHARKS MOU): https://www.cms.int/sharks/en/country/barbados