Sydney Siders Urged to Exercise Caution and Avoid Harbour Waters After Recent Shark Attack


Avoid swimming in Sydney Harbour and surrounding bays
Avoid swimming in Sydney Harbour and surrounding bays
In the wake of a recent shark attack in the Sydney Harbour, authorities are strongly advising residents and visitors to exercise caution and refrain from swimming in the harbour waters until further notice.

The incident occurred earlier this week, highlighted the unpredictable nature of marine life even in popular urban locations.

Sharks are rife in the harbour this time of year, feeding off surface-dwelling fish like salmon, bonito and mackerel tuna.

In the day they lurk in 40m “holes” in the harbour before coming up to the surface to feed at night.

The most dangerous time to swim is as dusk or at night when bull sharks are most likely to be hunting in the shallows.

A local swimmer, 29-year-old microbiologist Lauren O’Neill almost lost a leg after being bitten by a bull shark while she was swimming outside of the netted area in Elizabeth Bay. She was promptly assisted by nearby locals and emergency services. While such incidents are rare, authorities are taking proactive measures to ensure public safety.

‘Stay out of the water’

Marine experts and local authorities are working together to assess the situation and determine the presence of any potentially dangerous sharks in the vicinity. Experts have urged Sydney siders to brace for a “cluster” of shark bites this summer

According to Yuri Niella, the shark tracker from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, the harbour serves as a significant feeding ground for bull sharks, resembling a “large buffet” due to the ample food resources available. Dr. Niella noted that the annual return of bull sharks to the area is attributed to the abundance of prey.

Amy Smoothey, a shark scientist with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI), highlighted that bull sharks are particularly concentrated in two specific regions within the harbour. These areas include the triangular expanse of water bordered by Kirribilli, Garden Island, and the Opera House, as well as the stretch along Parramatta River near Glades Bay.

Additionally, there have been documented sightings of juvenile bull sharks in the Hawkesbury River, adding to the diverse presence of these marine predators in the surrounding waterways. 

University of Sydney shark management expert Christopher Pepin-Neff said there is no evidence that the population of bull sharks in the harbour has grown but warmer temperatures does mean that shark activity is higher.

“Shark bites often happen in clusters, so we need to be very careful for the rest of the summer,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“On hot summer days, baitfish come to the surface of the water, and the bull sharks follow.

“Water temperatures are high and this is a warning to make sure that we don’t have a cluster.”

Sydney Siders are advised to stay informed through official channels and adhere to any safety guidelines issued by authorities. Water activities, including swimming and surfing, are discouraged in areas where shark sightings have been reported.


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login