Most shark sightings in Australia are off the western coasts of the country in the state of Western Australia, southern parts of Queensland off the eastern coastline, and off the eastern coastline of Fraser Island, a massive sand island off of Queensland’s coastline.
Hervey Bay sits close to Fraser Island and over the years there have been more shark sightings than in the past. But history shows Hervey Bay has had very few shark attacks over many years, Meaning overall it’s very safe to swim here in the calm waters despite having no shark nets on the beaches.
When visiting these particular areas, it Is important to stay alert and be aware of past attacks or sightings.
Because Fraser Island is pretty close to Hervey Bay, the waters between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island are generally pretty calm.
The massive island (which is over 1,600 square kilometres in size!) protects the bay area from too much turbulence in the ocean waters.
However, even though Hervey Bay is known for its pristine and quaint beaches, wildlife can still make its way into the waters. In the past, there have been more sightings of sharks around the Hervey Bay area.
Even with an increase of shark sightings in Hervey Bay, the area still remains one of the only spots in Queensland where protective barriers haven’t been installed at every beach.
This is because a lot of Hervey Bay beaches aren’t patrolled. Beachgoers shouldn’t enter waters where the beach isn’t being patrolled.
Does Hervey Bay Have Shark Nets?
Other places around Queensland have drumline barriers in an attempt to deter sharks from entering swimming waters. The number of sightings hasn’t increased so much as to cause too much concern.
It is important to note that these sightings may or may not be confirmed sightings. The general public might see a fin in the water and assume it is a shark.
While it is good to raise awareness, because wildlife can be unpredictable, these sightings could be dolphin fins. Usually, the sightings are from far away so people can’t always tell the difference between a dolphin fin or a shark fin.
Perhaps the lack of drumline barriers sits in the fact that the sightings aren’t always too accurate. Local fishermen in the Hervey Bay area have spotted tiger sharks throughout the years.
Some would even venture to say that they have caught sharks while fishing as well.
Whether or not the sightings are confirmed, people still question if there have been any shark attacks in the Hervey Bay area. After all, seeing a potential shark and a shark attack are two very different things.
Shark Attack History Hervey Bay
Shark attacks in the Hervey Bay area are few and far between. Even still, as previously mentioned, sharks can still linger in the calming waters of the bay area.
While shark attacks are less common in Hervey Bay, there have reportedly been some.
Knowing about previous attacks can help future travellers or visitors to the area stay aware when entering any waters around Hervey Bay! Below are the known shark attacks in Hervey Bay
Known Shark Attacks Hervey Bay
- A 19-year-old man was killed by a shark in 1922 near Pialba, a coastal town in the Hervey Bay area. This incident is said to be one of the more gruesome attacks in the Bay Area. The young man’s right side was torn off from his armpit down to his stomach. His injuries were fatal.
- A male was struck by a shark’s tail in December of 1963. This recorded shark data isn’t an attack, however, it is a recorded encounter with a shark in Hervey Bay. The incident is said to have happened at Fig Tree Ledge which is off the western coast of Fraser Island. The shark’s tail struck the man in his armpit while he was sitting on his boat. It was not a fatal strike.
- A male was bitten on the arm while swimming in February of 2006 at Point Vernon, another local town in the Hervey Bay area. He did survive the attack.
- A 36-year-old man was attacked off the eastern coast of Fraser Island near Indian Head in July of 2020. The man was spearfishing when he was bitten in the leg. Unfortunately, the man didn’t survive the attack.
- A 50-ish-year-old man was bitten in the arm off the coast of Fraser Island in September of 2020. He was attacked during an attempt to remove the shark that had become caught on his fishing line. He did survive the attack.
These are the most known and recorded shark attacks in Hervey Bay. As the data shows, the attacks aren’t very frequent.
Fraser Island is a known area in Hervey Bay to have sharks, however, it should be noted that sharks around the island are primarily on the eastern side.
Even so, sharks can appear on the western side closer to the mainland where Hervey Bay is directly.
Guests should always keep an eye out though just to be sure everyone is as safe as possible.
There isn’t a direct way to be “shark safe” in Australian waters other than not swimming in areas where they are known to frequent (like the eastern coast of Fraser Island), not swimming at dusk or dawn, and never, ever swimming alone.
Hervey Bay Shark Species
Sharks come in various species, just like most other types of creatures in the animal kingdom.
Some species are more aggressive than others. For example, reef sharks aren’t aggressive towards humans and are often seen darting around the Great Barrier Reef.
However, as with any wild animal, they shouldn’t be provoked. With various species of sharks out there, what are some of the species that have been spotted around Hervey Bay?
- Tiger sharks – These sharks can grow up to 7m (or 25ft) in length and weigh around 861kg (or 1,900lbs).
- Bull sharks – These sharks are much smaller than tiger sharks only getting to be about 2.25m (or 7.4ft) and weighing about 95kg (or 210 lbs). This species is the most common around the waters of the Bay Area.
- Whale sharks – Usually, these sharks are quite massive reaching upwards of 13m (or 45ft) in length and weighing almost 14 metric tons. The whaler sharks that have been noticed near Fraser Island in Hervey Bay aren’t quite this large, still large enough to get noticed!
- Hammerheads – In November 2020, a group of hammerhead sharks were spotted in Hervey Bay near the Great Sandy Strait, an area between Fraser Island and the mainland. Like reef sharks, hammerheads aren’t typically aggressive towards humans. They can reach around 6m (or 20ft) in length and weigh about 453kg (or 1,000).
- Great white sharks – These dangerous sharks are usually found off the eastern coast of Fraser Island. They can reach about 5m (or 16ft) in length and weigh around 2,270kg (or 5,000lbs).
These are the most common species that have been spotted in the waters around Hervey Bay.
Out of these species, only the tiger, bull, and great white sharks are considered a real danger.
This isn’t to say that people shouldn’t still be cautious. Taking unnecessary risks is never a smart thing to do when dealing with these creatures.
Hervey Bay is a great place to swim or fish and sharks shouldn’t be a major concern for visitors. However, as expressed, always be on alert!
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