Great white shark diving and shark tourism banned in Western Australia
The southern region of Western Australia is known for being close to the continental shelf. But not only that, it’s also known for great white sharks too. When Australia had a whaling industry, the whale ships that came into Albany, Western Australia were known for being followed by numerous great white sharks.
With the close proximity of the deep waters beyond the continental shelf. Together with the cooler waters around this part of Australia’s coast, makes this region an idea habitat for the great white shark.
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Great white shark diving in Western Australia
Back in 2012 shark tourism was banned in Western Australia. An activity that is popular in Southern Australia and also in places like South Africa. But great white shark operators are not permitted to set up great white cage diving in Western Australia.
Norman Moore, the fisheries minister for Western Australia, quoted research that suggests cage diving can change the behaviour of sharks. “I have decided that Western Australia will not be the place for shark cage tourism,” he said, while recognising that the activity can bring in tourism revenue.The Telegraph – Article on Shark tourism banned in Western Australia
That means if you are looking to go great white shark diving in Western Australia, you’re out of luck. That’s not to say that if you go scuba diving in Western Australia from say Perth, that you won’t see a great white shark.
You may just happen to bump into one on on your dive, but it’s unlikely. There’s no shark cage diving in Perth WA. Baiting the sharks is not permitted, which is what can usually guarantee a sighting of these predatory creatures.
Great white shark numbers increasing Western Australia
It is being debated whether in fact shark numbers around the coast of Australia are increasing. Is this increase in great whites translating to more shark attacks on humans?
Looking at the number of shark attacks for Western Australia on it’s own, lets see if this appears to be true.
So far in 2019, there has been just one unprovoked shark attack in Western Australia. The person attacked was injured but it wasn’t fatal. Looking back at the previous years, let’s see if there’s an upward trend or not.
More Reading: What are three interesting facts about the great white shark? (Plus 50 cool facts)
How many shark attacks have there been in Western Australia?
Below is a list of the shark attacks that have been recorded off the coast of Western Australia only.
- 2018: 7 unprovoked attacks; 5 injured; 2 uninjured; 0 fatalities.
- 2017: 6 unprovoked attacks; 2 injured; 3 uninjured; 1 fatality.
- 2016: 5 unprovoked attacks; 2 injured; 1 uninjured; 2 fatalities.
- 2015: 2 unprovoked attacks; 2 injured; 0 uninjured; 0 fatalities.
- 2014: 2 unprovoked attacks; 2 injured; 0 uninjured; 0 fatalities.
- 2013: 4 unprovoked attacks; 2 injured; 1 uninjured; 1 fatalities.
- 2012: 5 unprovoked attacks; 2 injured; 1 uninjured; 2 fatalities.
The above data has been taken from the Australian Shark Attack File on Taronga Conservation Society Australia.
Looking at the data for Western Australian unprovoked shark attacks, there does appear to be an increase when you look at the total number of shark attacks. 2018 was a particularly high number, but then there were no fatalities.
Where are most shark attacks in Australia?
Looking at the data from the same Australian Shark Attack File, it would seem that the most shark attacks in Australia are in New South Wales.
For example, in 2018 there were 9 unprovoked shark attacks in New South Wales (NSW), compared to 7 in Western Australia (WA). However, in 2017, there were a total of 5 in NSW vs 6 in WA. There were no fatalities in NSW in both 2018 and 2017.
In 2016, NSW had 8 unprovoked shark attacks with zero fatalities, but in 2015 there were 14 recorded attacks with one fatality.
I would put the higher shark attack numbers down to the Bull Shark. Bull sharks are prevalent in NSW. They are a known shark to swim in the murky waters of Sydney Harbour.
The bull shark is known to be a very aggressive shark, and in fact has the highest level of testosterone of any animal on the planet!
Would shark tourism increase the unprovoked shark attacks?
The real question is whether the fisheries minister is correct in his opinion about shark tourism. This we may never know, as there appears to be no change in their decision about great white shark diving in Western Australia.
Scuba diving with sharks is likely to be safe, as there are very few shark attacks on scuba divers. What it looks like the minister of WA is worried about is the other water users, like surfers, snorkelers and people that swim in the sea.
Where to cage dive with sharks in Australia
If you are disappointed after reading that here’s no great white shark diving in Western Australia, you can still white shark dive. Instead of heading down to WA, head to Southern Australia and Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula.
For more details, this article Cage dive great white sharks Australia Liveaboard will help on how to get there and what to expect.
I hope you enjoyed this article about great white shark diving Western Australia
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or types of scuba diving (or specifically about great white shark diving Western Australia), please comment below with your questions.