Fish of Shark Bay


Shark Bay is home to an amazing array of marine life. The meeting place of warm waters from the north and cooler waters from the south, the bay provides the best of both worlds for tropical and temperate species. More than 320 species of fish live here, from emperors and angel fish to remoras and wrasse. Recreational fishers come to battle Spanish mackerel, tailor and kingfish, while commercial fishers harvest whiting, mullet and snapper. Divers delight in parrotfish, damselfish and other tropical species, which wind through the water in a kaleidoscope of colour and form.


There is a reason why Shark Bay is so called. “Sharks we caught a great many of, which our men eat very savourily,” wrote English explorer William Dampier in 1699. “Among them we caught one which was 11 feet long.” Dampier named the place “Shark’s Bay” in honour of these magnificent fish.

Why did Dampier catch so many sharks? Because so many species live here! Check out a full list of shark species here.

Going fishing?

Fishing from the rocks at Steep Point

Fishing is one of the most popular activities in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Like everywhere else in Western Australia, Shark Bay has fishing rules tailor-made to suit the area’s ecology, mix of species and fishing pressure. These rules are designed to make sure that everyone gets a fair go – including the fish! The Department of Fisheries has plenty of information about possession limits and other regulations. Know the rules before you head out. Fish for a feed, not for the freezer.

Check out this guide to the more common fish species caught in Shark Bay.

For more information about Western Australian wildlife check out the website - WA Museum Fauna Base.