Fiji, a country located in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands famous for its breathtaking landscapes, palm-lined beaches, and coral reefs with crystal-clear lagoons that are hard to believe. It’s expected that such a paradise attracts thousands of tourists from everywhere every year, and a lot of them have the same doubt: are there sharks in Fiji?
There are 17 species of shark that have been recorded in Fiji, even in Rivers. The most common sharks in the so-called “Soft Coral Capital of the World” are Whitetip Reef Sharks and Blacktip Reef Sharks, easily seen inshore. Shark attacks in Fiji are rare, with 69 incidents registered since 1917.
It’s important to notice that this number can be higher, as there are no boundaries between oceans, and there are more than 400 species of sharks worldwide. So some other species may wander around or even dwell in Fiji’s beautiful waters (I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in such a perfect place?).
Whitetips and Blacktips may be the most common but are not the only frequent visitors in Fiji. To learn all about the 17 species of shark in Fiji (including Bull Sharks and Tiger Sharks), read the complete species guide in the following section. Also, I have found a crazy (and sad) story of a father and daughter killed by an 8-ft shark in a river 30 miles from the sea back in 1921. Finally, I’ve prepared a comprehensive database including all the shark incidents registered in Fiji. Cool, right? So read on.
Keep reading to learn everything about the 17 species of shark ever registered in Fiji.
Are There Sharks In Fiji? (Species Guide)
Fiji is for sure one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Located in South Pacific, the country has more than 300 islands, with coral reefs with paradisiac beaches that we only see in the movies. Sharks are also abundant in this paradise, which is why the region is one of the top international destinations for divers in the Pacific. In this section, you’ll find out more about the sharks in Fiji.
As you already know, 17 shark species call Fiji home, but this number can be higher, as it’s hard to keep track of all marine life. As oceans and branches of the sea are all connected, more species may live near the beautiful “Soft Coral Capital of the World.”
- Shark Species In Fiji: 17 (At Least)
- Most Frequently Seen: Whitetip Reef Sharks / Blacktip Reef Sharks
- Most Dangerous/Aggressive Species: Bull Sharks / Tiger Sharks
- Biggest Sharks Found In Florida: Whale Shark (largest species on Earth)
In Fiji, some species are more frequently seen inshore, and they are the following: Whitetip Reef Sharks, Tawny Nurse Sharks, Indo-Pacific Lemon Sharks (Sickle-Fin Lemon Sharks), Leopard Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Bull Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks.
However, some species prefer deep seas and are more prominent offshore: Shortfin Mako Sharks, Silky Sharks, Blue Sharks, Oceanic Whitetip Sharks, Bronze Whalers, and Whale Sharks. Finally, some species adapt well to both situations and can be found inshore and offshore, such as the Silvertip Shark, the Tiger Shark, and the Great Hammerhead Shark.
|Species||Scientific Name||Maximum Size||Aggressiveness|
|Whitetip Reef Shark||Triaenodon obesus||Up to 2.1 m|
|Up to 3 m|
|Tawny Nurse Shark||Nebrius ferrugineus||Up to 3.2 m|
|Indo-Pacific Lemon Shark|
Sickle-Fin Lemon Shark
|Negaprion acutidens||Up to 3.8 m|
|Leopard Shark||Triakis semifasciata||Up to 2 m|
|Blacktip Reef Shark||Carcharhinus|
|Up to 2 m|
|Grey Reef Shark||Carcharhinus|
|Up to 2.5m|
|Bull Shark||Carcharhinus leucas||Up to 2.1 m|
|Tiger Shark||Galeocerdo cuvier||Up to 9 m|
|Scalloped Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna lewini||Up to 4 m|
|Great Hammerhead Shark||Sphyrna mokarran||Up to 6 m|
|Shortfin Mako Shark||Isurus oxyrinchus||Up to 4 m|
|Silky Shark||Carcharhinus falciformis||Up to 3.5 m|
|Blue Shark||Prionace glauca||Up to 4 m|
|Oceanic Whitetip Shark||Carcharhinus longimanus||Up to 4 m|
|Bronze Whaler Shark|
|Carcharhinus brachyurus||Up to 3.2 m|
|Whale Shark||Rhincodon typus||Up to 18 m!|
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Dominican Republic? (Full Guide)
Sharks In Fijian Rivers
In Fiji, sharks are not only found in reefs or deep seas but also in rivers. Bull Sharks are arguably the most dangerous species of shark on Earth, but they’re also fascinating. These animals have developed the special ability to live in both salt and fresh water and have already been recorded in rivers thousands of miles from the sea.
|Max Size||Up to 13 ft (4 meters)|
|Aggressiveness||Very Aggressive (Dangerous)|
|Occurrence||Tropical and Subtropical Coastal Waters|
|Preference||Shallow Coastal Waters – Less than 100 ft (30 m)|
Bull Sharks can be found in all major rivers of Fiji, especially between September and December. In the main Fiji Islands (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu), sharks are very often, especially in the Navua River. Through the years, even shark attacks already took place in Fijian rivers, but they are rare.
After researching the data provided by Global Shark File Attack (GSAF), I was able to find 9 confirmed shark incidents in Fijian Rivers, all of them involving Bull Sharks. Most attacks in rivers took place in Rewa River, on Viti Levu Island. Unfortunately, one of the incidents was fatal, involving a father and his young daughter, back on November 15, 1921.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Detroit River? (Explained)
Double Tragedy: Father And Child Lost In A River Shark Attack
The man went out swimming in the river to make a purchase at a store and took his little girl with him, carrying her on his shoulder. After that, they were never seen alive again. The man’s body was found near the point where he entered the river (30 miles from the sea!), and, as registered in the newspaper of the time, his body was “frightfully torn by a shark.” The girl’s body was found some distance down the river, with a leg torn off.
Locals have confirmed shark presence in the area, and a Chinese man says that he saw an 8-ft shark near shore near the place where the attack happened a few days after the tragedy. All the details of the story can be found in these incredible cuts of newspaper that dates back a hundred years in time and confirm the double tragedy that took away the lives of a father and daughter.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Rio De Janeiro? (Detailed)
Sharks Attacks In Fiji
Fiji is the 11th place in the world with the most shark attacks, with 23 fatal. Studying the reports from International Shark Attack File (ISAF) and Global Shark Attack File (GSAF), the two most reliable institutes in terms of registering shark incidents, I was able to find some interesting information about the numbers in the Fiji Islands:
- Total Incidents Reported: 69
- Provoked Attacks: 3
- Unprovoked Attacks: 61
- Invalid Data: 1 (Shark involvement not confirmed)
- Sea Disaster/Watercraft: 4
- Fatal Attacks: 23
The last confirmed shark attack in Fiji was in 2020, in Cakaudrove, one of 14 provinces of Fiji and one of three based principally on the northern island of Vanua Levu. A 26-year-old man was out diving for fish with two other friends along the reefs when a shark bit him. Fortunately, the attack was non-fatal and resulted in deep lacerations into the man’s right arm, who recovered completely after surgery.
|Incident 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|
|Early 1963||Vita Levu||Korolevu||–||Unprovoked||UNKNOWN|
|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||–|
|18-Sep-1840||Viti Levu Island||Rewa||–||Unprovoked||N|
|Ca. 1839||Viti Levu Island||Rewa||–||Unprovoked||N|
|Before 1958||Kadavu Island||18.8S, 178.25E||Swimming||Unprovoked||N|
|Before 1917||Moala Island||–||Wrecked canoe||Unprovoked||Y|
Are sharks a problem in Fiji? Sharks are not a problem in Fiji. Actually, the Fiji Islands are one of the top diving destinations in the world because of the shark presence in the area. In addition, shark attacks are rare in Fiji, with only 69 incidents since 1917, 23 fatal.
Are there a lot of sharks in Fiji? There are at least 17 shark species in Fiji. The most common species are the Whitetip Reef Sharks and Blacktip Reef Sharks. The most dangerous sharks in Fiji are the Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks, but incidents are rare, with only 69 incidents since 1917.
Are there sharks in the rivers in Fiji? Bull Sharks can be found in all major rivers of Fiji, especially on the island of Viti Levu. Since 1917, 9 shark attacks have been confirmed to take place in Fijian rivers, and one of them was fatal, taking the life of a man and his daughter.
Does Fiji have great white sharks? There is no confirmed presence of Great White Sharks in Fiji. However, it’s not impossible for a Great White to eventually get to Fiji, as there are no borders between oceans. Other 17 can be found in Fiji, including Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks.
- Shark Attack Data: https://www.sharkattackdata.com/place/fiji
- 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/
- Fiji Famous Sharks: A Scuba Diver’s Guide To Fiji’s Famous Sharks
- Best Places to See Sharks In Fiji: https://fijipocketguide.com/5-best-places-to-see-sharks-in-fiji/
- Sharks Of Fiji: https://www.michwanderlust.com/2016/08/13/fiji-diving-with-sharks/