Sharks in Jamaica

Jamaica is not known for its large shark population. If you were to venture underwater in search of one, the only species you are likely to encounter are the nurse sharks. However, several sharks live in the deeper waters of the country.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Jamaica

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Basking Shark 23-30 feet Not aggressive
Blacknose Shark 3-5 feet Not aggressive
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Caribbean Reef Shark 8-9 feet Not aggressive
Caribbean Sharpnose Shark 3-4 feet Highly aggressive
Great Hammerhead Shark 15-20 feet Highly aggressive
Lemon Shark 9-10 feet Not aggressive
Nurse Shark 7-8 feet Not aggressive
Oceanic Whitetip Shark 10-13 feet Highly aggressive
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Silky Shark 7-10 feet Highly aggressive
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Whale Shark 18-32 feet Not aggressive



There have been 18 or so shark attacks in Jamaica over the last century, with seven taking place in the Kingston area and three in Westmoreland. The most recent victim of a shark attack was 53-year-old fisher Donovan Haywood on May 1, 2021. He was with a group of 10 anglers after 8 a.m. in Little Bay when a tiger shark attacked, leading to him losing his arm.


Several species, like the great hammerhead, the basking shark, and the whale shark, are endangered and are likely to become extinct if not protected. The reasons for this state include overfishing in their habitat and killing them by cutting off their dorsal fin and releasing the soon-to-be dead shark back into the wild.


While cage diving with sharks is not an option in Jamaica, there are places like Montego Bay and Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios where one can interact with nurse sharks that are used to human presence under the supervision of an expert.


No, great white sharks are not a common species in Jamaica.

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