(Image:: AAP/Rebecca Le May)

If there were a perfect relationship between the frequency of shark attacks and our fear, then sharks would hardly register. The International Shark Attack File, the world’s only scientifically documented database of shark attacks, puts the risk at a puny one in 11.5 million. Using the same data, Australian shark researcher Blake Chapman says we’re more likely to win an Oscar, a Nobel prize or a lotto jackpot of US$1 million or more than to be fatally attacked by a shark.

Many conservationists will tell you that vending machines and coconuts kill more people than the maligned shark. Google it -- so are toasters and lightning strikes and other causes of death that would look embarrassing on a death certificate.