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Sharks of the Great Barrier Reef

If you’re planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and feeling apprehensive about encountering sharks while snorkeling or scuba diving, this article is for you. We’ll provide information on the most common sharks found in the area, whether they pose a danger to humans, and what to do if you happen to see one.

Let’s get started!

Sharks Attack! – News Headline in Australia!

The media loves to sensationalize shark attacks, but the reality is that they are rare occurrences, with only around 3-4 incidents per year in Australia. Most of these attacks happen in the southern parts of the country, such as New South Wales and Western Australia, not on the Great Barrier Reef.

Are There Sharks on the Great Barrier Reef?

Yes, there are sharks in the area, but they are generally harmless to humans. The most common sharks found on the Great Barrier Reef are white tip and black tip reef sharks, along with other species like grey whaler reef sharks, leopard sharks, epaulette sharks, and wobbegong sharks. These sharks pose no threat to humans unless they are specifically provoked, such as by feeding, grabbing, or spearfishing around them.

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What About Dangerous Sharks?

While there are a few shark species on the Great Barrier Reef that can potentially be a threat to humans, they are not commonly encountered. These include the Tiger Shark, which is generally a scavenger and rarely seen by snorkelers or divers, and the Oceanic White Tip, which is found in the deeper waters of the Coral Sea and is a rare sight on the Great Barrier Reef. Bronze Whalers and Bull Sharks are also present in the area but tend to be scavengers and opportunistic feeders rather than actively seeking out humans.

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Shark Encounters on the Great Barrier Reef

There have only been a handful of recorded shark attacks on the Great Barrier Reef, and they are mostly the result of human interaction, such as during free dive spearfishing. Sharks are attracted to the scent of blood in the water, so it’s important to avoid spearfishing or any other activity that may attract them to your location.

If You See a Shark While Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

The best thing to do is to remain calm and enjoy the moment. The most common sharks found on the Great Barrier Reef, like the white tip and black tip reef sharks, are usually smaller than humans and are easily frightened away. If you have a camera, take a picture to share with your fellow snorkelers or divers.

The Chances of Being Bitten by a Shark

The likelihood of being bitten by a shark while snorkeling or scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef is very low. Statistically speaking, you are more likely to have a car accident or be injured by public transport than to be bitten by a shark in this area. So, relax and enjoy the beauty of the reef and its inhabitants, including the sharks!