Facts on Shark Bay
If you are undecided on wether you should make a trip to Shark Bay, read the following facts and you will realise what an amazing place it is. It is well worth a visit, it is one of the most unique places on earth.
Facts on Shark Bay
- An expedition led by Dirk Hartog happened upon the area in 1616, becoming the second group of Europeans known to have visited Australia.
- The area has a population of fewer than 1,000 people and a coastline of over 1,500 kilometres
- The half-dozen small communities making up this population occupy less than 1% of the total area.
- The bay itself covers an area of 10,000 km², with an average depth of 10 metres.
- The coastline is over 1,500 km long.
- The bay is located in the transition zone between three major climatic regions and between two major Botanical provinces.
- Bernier and Dorre islands in the north-west corner of the heritage area are among last-remaining habitats of Australian mammals threatened with extinction.
- It is home to about 10,000 Dugongs (sea cows), around 12.5% of the world’s population
- The area supports 26 threatened Australian mammal species
- Shark Bay has over 230 species of birds
- Shark Bay has nearly 150 species of reptile
- It is an important breeding and nursery ground for fish crustaceans, and coelenterates.
- There are over 323 fish species
- Humpbacks and Southern right whales use the waters of the bay as migratory staging post
- The endangered green and loggerhead turtles nest on the bay’s sandy beaches.
- The largest fish in the world, the whale sharks, gathers in the bay during the April and May full moons
- Shark Bay has the largest known area of seagrass, with seagrass meadows covering over 4,800 km² of the bay
- It includes the 1,030 km² Wooramel Seagrass Bank, the largest seagrass bank in the world
- Shark Bay also contains the largest number of seagrass species ever recorded in one place; twelve species have been found, with up to nine occurring together in some places.
- In Shark Bay’s hot, dry climate, evaporation greatly exceeds the annual precipitation rate.
- The water of the bay is 1.5 to 2 times more salty than the surrounding ocean waters.
- 3000 years ago microbes started building up stromatolites in Hamelin Pool in the south of the bay.
- These structures are the earliest signs of life on Earth,
- Shark Bay was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1991. The site covers an area of 23,000 square kilometres.
- Shark Bay was the first to be classified on the Australian World Heritage list.