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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Shark safety

Of the 160-plus known species of Australian sharks, only three are regarded as posing a significant risk to human safety:

  • the white shark or white pointer/great white (Carcharodon carcharias);
  • tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier); and
  • bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas).

In WA, the majority of fatalities are attributed to white sharks.

Wobbegong, hammerhead and whaler sharks, while usually harmless, have also bitten humans, but the bites are rarely fatal. As is the case with other wild animals, sharks may bite when they feel threatened and, no matter how big or small, should be left alone.

Reducing the risk of shark interactions

Even though shark encounters are considered rare, stay safe in the water by following our simple Shark SMART tips and keep up-to-date with detection and shark sighting information with our Shark Activity information on the Sharksmart website. ​​​

Last modified: 30/06/2014 12:10 PM

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The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.