Fiji is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, stunning coral reefs, and abundant marine life. However, for some people, the thought of swimming or diving in Fiji’s waters can be daunting due to concerns about shark attacks. But are there sharks in Fiji Waters?
Fiji is home to at least 17 species of sharks, including Bull sharks, Tiger sharks, Hammerhead sharks, and Reef sharks. The two most common sharks in Fiji waters are the Whitetip and Blacktip Reef sharks. However, it is important to note that shark attacks in Fiji are rare, and most encounters between humans and sharks are peaceful.
In this post, I’ve prepared a closer look at the types of sharks found in Fiji’s waters, explored the frequency of shark attacks in the region, and provided some tips for staying safe while enjoying Fiji’s natural beauty. By the end of this post, you’ll better understand the realities of shark encounters in Fiji and be better equipped to make informed decisions about your water-based activities.
To learn all about sharks in Fiji Waters, read on.
Are There Sharks In Fiji Waters? (Species Guide)
Fiji is a tropical paradise known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning coral reefs, and abundant marine life, including sharks. With 17 of the world’s 29 known species of sharks commonly found in tropical waters, Fiji offers a unique opportunity for shark enthusiasts to witness these incredible creatures up close. As there are no boundaries between oceans and branches of the sea, it is quite possible that other species of shark can be living in Fiji.
In this guide, I’ve focused on 17 species recorded in Fiji. To help you better understand these fascinating animals, I’ve compiled a table of the most common shark species found in Fiji, including their scientific names, maximum size in feet and meters, and their assessed aggressiveness towards humans.
|Species||Scientific Name||Max Size||Aggressiveness|
|Bull Shark||Carcharhinus leucas||3.3 m / 11 ft||Very Aggressive|
|Tiger Shark||Galeocerdo cuvier||4.9 m / 16 ft||Very Aggressive|
|Great Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna mokarran||6.1 m / 20 ft||Aggressive|
|Whitetip Reef Shark||Triaenodon obesus||1.5 m / 5 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Blacktip Reef Shark||Carcharhinus melanopterus||1.7 m / 5.5 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Silvertip Shark||Carcharhinus albimarginatus||3 m / 10 ft||Aggressive|
|Lemon Shark||Negaprion brevirostris||3.4 m / 11 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Nurse Shark||Ginglymostoma cirratum||4.3 m / 14 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Grey Reef Shark||Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos||2.4 m / 8 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Scalloped Hammerhead||Sphyrna lewini||4.3 m / 14 ft||Aggressive|
|Thresher Shark||Alopias vulpinus||6.1 m / 20 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Oceanic Whitetip Shark||Carcharhinus longimanus||4 m / 13 ft||Very Aggressive|
|Blacktip Shark||Carcharhinus limbatus||2.4 m / 8 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Bullhead Shark||Heterodontus francisci||0.9 m / 3 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Blue Shark||Prionace glauca||3.7 m / 12 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Dusky Shark||Carcharhinus obscurus||4.3 m / 14 ft||Not Aggressive|
|Spinner Shark||Carcharhinus brevipinna||2.7 m / 9 ft||Not Aggressive|
If you want an even more complete version of this article, with a different approach to sharks in Fiji, check this other post in the blog.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Fiji? (Detailed Guide)
The 7 Most Common Sharks In Fiji Waters
Sharks may have a bit of a reputation as fearsome creatures. Still, they’re also fascinating and essential parts of the ocean ecosystem, and Fiji’s waters are teeming with an incredible array of shark species just waiting to be discovered.
From the sleek and speedy Whitetip and Blacktip Reef sharks to the majestic (and ferocious) Tiger shark, these creatures will surely make your heart race (in the best way possible). There are at least 17 sharks in the region, but now, let’s dive into the 7 Most Common Shark Species you might encounter in the paradisiac Fiji waters.
Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus)
One of Fiji’s most common reef sharks, the Whitetip Reef Shark is found in shallow waters near coral reefs. They typically grow to a maximum length of 5 feet (1.5 meters) and are known for their slender bodies and distinctive white-tipped fins. The Somosomo Strait and the Bligh Waters are popular areas to spot these sharks.
Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)
Another common reef shark in Fiji, the Blacktip Reef shark, is named for its distinctive black-tipped fins. They typically grow to a maximum length of 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) and are found in shallow waters near coral reefs. The Somosomo Strait, the Bligh Waters, and the Beqa Lagoon are popular areas to spot these sharks.
Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
One of the larger shark species found in Fiji, the tiger shark can grow up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) in length. They are known for their distinct striped patterns and are found in both shallow and deep waters. While tiger sharks are not typically aggressive toward humans, they are known to be curious and cautious creatures. The Great Astrolabe Reef, the Beqa Lagoon, and the Yasawa Islands are common areas to spot these sharks.
Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
The bull shark is known for its aggressive behavior and is responsible for many shark attacks worldwide. They can grow up to 11 feet (3.3 meters) in length and are found in fresh and saltwater environments. In Fiji, bull sharks are commonly found in the Beqa Lagoon, the Rewa River, and the Navua River.
Great Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
One of the largest hammerhead shark species, the great hammerhead can grow up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) in length. They are typically found in deeper waters and are known for their unique hammer-shaped heads. While not naturally dangerous to humans, they can be aggressive when provoked. The Great Astrolabe Reef, the Kadavu Island Group, and the Bligh Waters are great spots to see these sharks.
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini)
Another hammerhead shark species found in Fiji, the scalloped hammerhead, can grow up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) in length. They are typically found in deeper waters and are known for their distinctive scalloped-shaped heads. These enormous animals are not very aggressive but can be considered potentially dangerous to humans because its size and power. Popular areas to spot these sharks include the Great Astrolabe Reef, the Kadavu Island Group, and the Bligh Waters.
Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
The Oceanic Whitetip shark is a larger species found in Fiji, with a maximum length of 13 feet (4 meters). They are typically found in open waters and are known for their unique white-tipped fins. These sharks species are very curious and can show aggressive behavior towards humans. They have been known to approach boats and are considered a potential threat in certain situations. The most common areas to see these sharks include the Great Astrolabe Reef, the Kadavu Island Group, and the Bligh Waters.
If you’re planning a trip to Fiji, don’t miss the opportunity to witness these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. With the proper guidance and precautions, shark encounters can be thrilling and educational experiences that will stay with you forever. In the following section, I’ve prepared a complete guide with The Best Shark Experiences in Fiji Waters for you.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Alcatraz? (Complete Guide)
The Best Shark Experiences In Fiji Waters
If you’re looking for an unforgettable encounter with sharks in Fiji’s waters, you’re in luck. There are a variety of shark experiences available for visitors, including diving, cage diving, snorkeling, and shark-watching tours. Here are some of the best shark experiences in Fiji:
- Shark diving in Beqa Lagoon: This area is known as the “Shark Capital of the World” and offers some of Fiji’s best shark diving experiences. You can encounter up to eight shark species, including the majestic Tiger Shark.
- Shark feeding at Shark Reef Marine Reserve: This is a unique opportunity to witness the behavior of sharks during a feeding session. You can observe the interaction of multiple species of sharks up close.
- Shark snorkeling at Shark Alley: This is a more laid-back option for those who don’t want to dive. You can snorkel with friendly whitetip reef sharks in a protected cove.
- Shark cage diving at Pacific Harbour: This is a thrilling option for those who want to get up close and personal with sharks in a safe and controlled environment. You can encounter bull sharks and other species from the safety of a cage.
When embarking on a shark experience in Fiji, it’s important to choose a reputable operator and follow all safety guidelines. Remember to respect these incredible creatures and their natural habitat. In the end of this article you can find helpful links to these activities.
Are There Shark Attacks In Fiji Waters? (Research)
Fiji Waters is home to several shark species, and while shark attacks are relatively rare in the country, they do occur. I’ve recently researched Global Shark Attack File (GSAF) extensively and discovered that Fiji is the 11th place in the world with the most shark attacks, with 23 casualties since 1839. It’s important to note that these statistics are based on reported incidents, and not all shark attacks may be reported.
- Total Shark Attacks In Fiji Waters: 69
- Provoked Attacks: 3
- Unprovoked Attacks: 61
- Invalid Data: 1 (Shark involvement not confirmed)
- Sea Disaster/Watercraft: 4
- Fatal Attacks: 23
Most shark attacks in Fiji waters involve surfers, but there have also been cases of swimmers, snorkelers, and spearfishers being attacked, among other activities. The majority of these incidents involve Bull Sharks and Tiger Sharks, which are known to be more aggressive towards humans compared to other species. In the following table, you can see all the attacks reported in Fiji to this day.
|Incident Reported Date||Area||Location||Activity||Incident Type||Fatal? (Y/N)|
|02-Mar-2020||Vanua Levu||Tawake, Cakaudrove||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||N|
|23-Sep-2018||Vanua Levu||Cakau Levu||Diving||Provoked||N|
|08-Apr-2011||Vitu Levu||Malake Island||Diving||Unprovoked||N|
|21-Mar-2011||–||Nukudamu||Diving / fishing||Unprovoked||N|
|15-Feb-2010||Off Vanua Levu||Nara Reef||Scuba diving||Unprovoked||Y|
|14-May-2008||Yasawa Islands||Turtle Island||Night diving||Unprovoked||Y|
|12-Dec-2000||Taveuni||Garden Island Resort||Swimming||Unprovoked||Y|
|15-Jun-1997||Taveuni||Garden Island Resort||Snorkeling||Unprovoked||N|
|24-May-1995||Yasawa Islands||Waya Island||Sleeping in boat||Unprovoked||Y|
|12-Nov-1992||Wakaya Island||–||Scuba diving||Unprovoked||N|
|23-Jun-1964||Lau Group||Totoya Island||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||N|
|14-Feb-1964||Vanua Levu||Nailou Village||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||Y|
|27-Jan-1964||–||70 miles from Suva||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||Y|
|04-Jan-1964||Lomaloma, Lau||Tuvuca Isalnd||Swimming||Unprovoked||N|
|28-Nov-1963||Lau Province||Dravuwalu, Totoya Island||Fishing||Unprovoked||N|
|25-Nov-1963||Vita Levu||Rewa River||Spearing fish||Unprovoked||N|
|08-Feb-1963||Lomaiviti Island||Gau Island||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||N|
|May 1962||Viti Levu||Near Suva||Fishing||Watercraft||N|
|Mar-1961||19S, 178?E||Wotua Beach||Floating on back||Unprovoked||N|
|Apr-1960||Vanua Levu||Bua coast||Fishing||Unprovoked||Y|
|1960-1961||Viti Levu||Covull Reef||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||N|
|02-Oct-1959||Lomaiviti Province||Ovalau Island||Dived overboard||Unprovoked||Y|
|24-Feb-1957||Viti Levu||Suva Harbor||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||N|
|Ca. 1950||–||Near Lautoka||–||Unprovoked||N|
|21-Mar-1938||Viti Levu||Singatoka River||Wading||Unprovoked||N|
|26-Sep-1932||Viti Levu Island||Navua||Catching a turtle||Unprovoked||N|
|20-Jun-1932||Yasawa Islands||Nabukeru||Free diving||Unprovoked||Y|
|28-Jul-1931||Viti Levu Island||Tamavua River||Swimming||Unprovoked||N|
|05-Jan-1929||Viti Levu Island||Suva Harbor||Diving||Unprovoked||Y|
|Oct-1927||–||A river||Collecting bananas||Unprovoked||N|
|1925||Viti Levu Island||Suva Harbor||Diving||Unprovoked||N|
|15-Nov-1921||Viti Levu Island||Rewa River||Swimming||Unprovoked||Y|
|13-Jan-1912||Viti Levu group||Beqa||Washed overboard||Unprovoked||Y|
|06-Sep-1894||Vita Levu||Rewa River||Dangling feet||Unprovoked||N|
|23-May-1893||–||Kadavu & Beqa||Canoe swamped||Unprovoked||Y|
|30-Aug-1879||Lau Group||Totoya||–||Sea Disaster||N|
|11-Mar-1877||Viti Levu Island||Rewa River||–||Unprovoked||N|
|28-Jan-1872||Lomaiviti Provine||Ovalau Island||boat capsized||Invalid||–|
|1840||Viti Levu Island||Rewa||–||Unprovoked||N|
|1839||Viti Levu Island||Rewa||–||Unprovoked||N|
|1958||Kadavu Island||18.8S, 178.25E||Swimming||Unprovoked||N|
|1917||Moala Island||–||Wrecked canoe||Unprovoked||Y|
Shark Attacks In Fijian Rivers
Interestingly, there have also been reports of shark attacks in rivers in Fiji. Bull sharks have been known to swim up rivers, and there have been attacks on people fishing or swimming. You can check a tragic double death story in a Fijian River by clicking here.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Cancun? (Detailed Research)
What Are The Odds? (Shark Attacks)
However, it’s worth noting that the risk of a shark attack in Fiji waters is still relatively low. According to the International Shark Attack File, the odds of dying from a shark attack are 1 in 11.5 million. To put that into perspective, here’s a comparison with other causes of death:
|Cause of Death||Odds of Dying|
|Shark attack||1 in 11.5 million|
|Car accident||1 in 107|
|Drowning||1 in 1,133|
|Obesity||1 in 240|
|Being struck by lightning||1 in 138,849|
As you can see, the odds of dying from a shark attack are significantly lower than other common causes of death. That being said, taking precautions when swimming or diving in the ocean is always important. Avoid swimming alone, especially during dawn or dusk when sharks are more active, and don’t wear shiny jewelry or brightly colored clothing that may attract sharks.
If you’re going on a shark diving or snorkeling tour, choose a reputable company that follows safety guidelines and respects the animals’ habitat. In summary, while shark attacks occur in Fiji waters, the risk is still relatively low. By taking proper precautions and respecting the animals’ habitat, visitors can safely enjoy the beautiful waters of Fiji.
Are sharks a problem in Fiji? Sharks are not considered a major problem in Fiji. While shark attacks occur, they are rare, and most sharks in Fiji waters are not aggressive toward humans. Shark diving and snorkeling tours are popular in Fiji, and operators take precautions to ensure the safety of participants.
Is it safe to swim in Fiji waters? As a general rule, it’s safe to swim in Fiji waters. However, it’s important to be aware of potential hazards such as strong currents, jellyfish, and sea snakes and to follow safety guidelines. Some beaches may have warning signs in place if particular hazards are present.
Are sharks common in Fiji? Sharks are very common in Fiji. A great variety of shark species are found in Fiji Waters, including the Whitetip Reef shark, Blacktip Reef shark, and some more ferocious species, such as Bull sharks and Tiger sharks. Bull sharks can also be found in some Fijian rivers.
Are there sharks in Fiji rivers? Bull sharks have been known to swim in some of Fiji’s rivers, particularly in areas where the river meets the ocean. There are even records of shark attacks in rivers. However, these occurrences are rare and are typically not considered a significant concern.
Does Fiji have great white sharks? Great white sharks are not commonly found in Fiji’s waters, although there have been occasional sightings. These sharks’ prevalence in any area can vary depending on various factors.
- Shark Attack Data: https://www.sharkattackdata.com/
- 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/
- Fishbase: https://www.fishbase.org.au/v4
- Fiji Shark Dive / Beqa Adventure Divers. https://www.fijisharkdiving.com/fiji-shark-diving/
- Shark Reef Marine Reserve / Beqa Adventure Divers. https://www.fijisharkdiving.com/shark-reef-marine-reserve/
- Shark Snorkel / Aqua-Trek. https://aqua-trek.com/diving-in-fiji/shark-snorkel/
- Bull Shark Dive / Aqua-Trek. https://aqua-trek.com/diving-in-fiji/bull-shark-dive/