The Dominican Republic, one of the best options for traveling to the Caribbean on a budget, has paradisiac places, great weather year-round, colorful drinks, great hotels, and golf courses. Also, some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth are located there. However, with more than 1,500 kilometers of coastline, many tourists wonder if there are sharks in the Dominican Republic.
There are at least 40 species of sharks living near the Dominican Republic. However, shark attacks and even sightings are very rare. The most common species in the Dominican Republic are the Shortfin Mako, Whale Shark, Thresher Shark, Scalloped Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead, Silky Shark, and Oceanic Whitetip Shark.
Sharks are present pretty much in all the seas and oceans around the globe, some species, even in Rivers. However, in most places shark attacks are isolated events, with only a few exceptions and dangerous beaches around the globe.
In the Dominican Republic, incidents with sharks are very rare and there are only 3 fatal episodes ever registered. In this article, you’ll find a species guide and a list with detailed description of all 9 shark attacks (provoked and unprovoked) that took place in the “Pearl of the Antilles,” as the country is called.
Keep reading to learn all about sharks in the Dominican Republic.
Are There Sharks In Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic is the second largest and arguably the most diverse country in the Caribbean. Known for its warm and hospitable people, the Dominican Republic is a unique destination, combining lush nature, intriguing history, and rich culture.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south, this magnificent tropical island boasts approximately 1610 km of coastline, 402 km of the world’s best beaches, fancy resorts and hotels, and a wide range of sporting activities, recreation, and entertainment. With all these incredible attractions, it is easy to find out why so many people like to travel and even migrate to live in such a beautiful paradise.
However, we are not the only ones looking for better places to live, and some species of sharks are more than proud to call home the waters near the “Pearl of the Antilles.” There are about 400+ species of sharks ever registered worldwide. As oceans are connected, there’s a chance for pretty much any species to be found anywhere in the world. But, like humans, sharks have their preferences, so it’s most likely for some species to be found in specific regions.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Barbados? (Detailed Research)
Sharks In The Dominican Republic
Some people claim that there are no sharks in the Dominican Republic because of the reef barrier (the reef barrier is actually a great place to dive with sharks) around the island. But that’s not true. Although sharks are more common on the North Atlantic side, some can come ashore from time to time. Also, it’s important to remember that when it comes to sharks, just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there.
About 40 species of shark can be found near the Dominican Republic. The most common (but not limited to) species of shark in the Dominican Republic are:
- Shortfin Mako Shark
- Whale Shark
- Common Thresher Shark
- Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
- Great Hammerhead Shark
- Silky Shark
- Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Of the 40 species of shark in the region, 7 are pretty common and are listed above. In the following list, there are 6 other species that, although not as common as those mentioned before, can also be found in significant numbers in the Caribbean.
- Tiger Shark
- Blue Shark
- Caribbean Reef Shark
- Nurse Shark
- Bull Shark
- Lemon Shark
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Rio De Janeiro? (Rio Sharks Guide)
14 Most Common Sharks In The Dominican Republic
As you now you know, there are about 40 species of sharks that were registered in the waters near the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. But it’s quite possible that there are more, as the island is surrounded by the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, that is home to more than 84 species.
- Total Number of Shark Species In The Dominican Republic: 40 (At Least)
- Most Frequently Seen: Shortfin Mako Shark
- Most Dangerous/Aggressive Species: Bull Shark / Oceanic Whitetip Shark
- Biggest Sharks Found In The Dominican Republic: Whale Shark (largest species on Earth)
In the following table, you can find a detailed description of all the species of shark in Dominican Republic.
|Species||Scientific Name||Max Size||Aggressiveness|
|Shortfin Mako Shark||Isurus|
|Up to 4 m|
|Up to 18 meters!|
|Common Thresher Shark||Alopias vulpinus||Up to 7.6 m|
|Scalloped Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna|
|Up to 4 m|
|Great Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna|
|Up to 6 m|
|Up to 3.5 m|
|Oceanic Whitetip Shark||Carcharhinus|
|Up to 4 m|
|Up to 9 m|
|Up to 4 m|
(Curious, Approach Humans)
|Caribbean Reef Shark||Carcharhinus|
|Up to 3 m|
(Poisonous To Eat)
|Nurse Shark||Ginglymostoma cirratum||Up to 4.2 m|
|Bull Shark||Carcharhinus leucas||Up to 2.1 m|
|Lemon Shark||Negaprion brevirostris||Up to 3.7 m|
Shark Attacks In Dominican Republic
Doing extensive research on shark attacks databases and reports around the globe, I was able to find only 9 incidents in Dominican Republic, three of them with fatal victims. The last fatal attack in the island was in 2010, in Boca Chica.
The nine incidents were confirmed by researchers of the investigation team of GSAF (Global Shark Attack File), and the attacks were published in newspapers on the respective dates.
|01 Nov 1918||North of San Domingo||Muchoir Banks||Sea Disaster||Sea Disaster||Yes|
|01 Aug 1963||San Domingo||Rio Haina Port||Swimming||Unprovoked||Yes|
|22 May 1969||Unknown||Location unknown||Surfing||Unprovoked||No|
|06 Oct 1987||Unknown||Mona Passage||Vessel on fire||Sea Disaster||No|
|04 Jan 1993||Unknown||Unknown||Watercraft||Watercraft||No|
|05 Feb 1996||North Coast||Boeing 757||Boeing crash||Sea Disaster||No|
|15 Nov 2010||Unknown||Boca Chica||Diving||Unprovoked||Yes|
|28 Sept 2011||Samaná Province||Playa Jackson||Fishing||Provoked||No|
|12 Feb 2016||Altagracia Province||Punta Cana||Wading||Unprovoked||No|
Has there ever been a shark attack in the Dominican Republic? There have been nine shark attacks (3 with fatal victims) registered in the Dominican Republic since 1918. However, only 4 were unprovoked incidents. Also, 3 of the incidents are sea disasters that ended with shark incidents.
Are there great white sharks in the Dominican Republic? There are at least 40 species of shark registered in the Dominican Republic. Despite not being impossible, to this day, there are no records of a Great White Shark swimming around the Dominican Republic.
What types of sharks are in the Dominican Republic? There are 40 species of sharks living near the Dominican Republic. The most common species are Shortfin Mako, Whale Shark, Thresher Shark, Scalloped Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead, Silky Shark, and Oceanic Whitetip Shark.
- Shark Attack Data: http://www.sharkattackdata.com/place/dominican_republic
- 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/
- Dominican Republic (CMS MOU): https://www.cms.int/sharks/en/country/dominican-republic
- Shark Year: Dominican Fishermen Catch 14 foot Tiger Shark
- Kiskeya Life: Does Punta Cana Have Sharks?