Shark Bay

Shark Bay (Malgana: Gathaagudu, "two waters") is a World Heritage Site in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. The 23,000-square-kilometre (8,900 sq mi) area is located approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi) north of Perth, on the westernmost point of the Australian continent. UNESCO's listing of Shark Bay as a World Heritage Site reads:

"Shark Bay’s waters, islands and peninsulas....have a number of exceptional natural features, including one of the largest and most diverse seagrass beds in the world. However, it is for its stromatolites (colonies of microbial mats that form hard, dome-shaped deposits which are said to be the oldest life forms on earth), that the property is most renowned. The property is also famous for its rich marine life including a large population of dugongs, and provides a refuge for a number of other globally threatened species."

The bay features Australia's most abundant marine ecosy...Read more

Shark Bay (Malgana: Gathaagudu, "two waters") is a World Heritage Site in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. The 23,000-square-kilometre (8,900 sq mi) area is located approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi) north of Perth, on the westernmost point of the Australian continent. UNESCO's listing of Shark Bay as a World Heritage Site reads:

"Shark Bay’s waters, islands and peninsulas....have a number of exceptional natural features, including one of the largest and most diverse seagrass beds in the world. However, it is for its stromatolites (colonies of microbial mats that form hard, dome-shaped deposits which are said to be the oldest life forms on earth), that the property is most renowned. The property is also famous for its rich marine life including a large population of dugongs, and provides a refuge for a number of other globally threatened species."

The bay features Australia's most abundant marine ecosystems. It is a popular fishing spot.

The record of Australian Aboriginal occupation of Shark Bay extends to 22,000 years BP. At that time most of the area was dry land, and rising sea levels flooded Shark Bay between 8,000 BP and 6,000 BP. A considerable number of aboriginal midden sites have been found, especially on Peron Peninsula and Dirk Hartog Island which provide evidence of some of the foods gathered from the waters and nearby land areas.[1]

An expedition led by Dirk Hartog happened upon the area in 1616, becoming the second group of Europeans known to have visited Australia. (The crew of the Duyfken, under Willem Janszoon, had visited Cape York in 1606). The area was given the name Shark Bay by the English explorer William Dampier, on 7 August 1699.[2] Shark Bay was also visited by Louis Aleno de St Aloüarn in 1772, Nicolas Baudin from 1801 to 1803 and Louis de Freycinet in 1818.[3] Europeans, mostly pastoralists, settled in Shark Bay during the 1860s to 1870s.[3] Pearling developed rapidly from 1870.[3]

Commercial whaling was conducted in the bay in the first half of the 20th century by Norwegian-owned factory ships and their catcher vessels.[4] In the late 1930s, up to 1,000 humpback whales were taken per season.

The heritage–listed area had a population of fewer than 1,000 people as at the 2011 census and a coastline of over 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The half-dozen small communities making up this population occupy less than 1% of the total area.

^ Cite error: The named reference whl was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Burney, James (1803). "7. Voyage of Captain William Dampier, in the Roebuck, to New Holland". A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean. Vol. 4. London: G. & W. Nicol, G. & J. Robinson & T. Payne. p. 395. Retrieved 9 October 2013. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference wha was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Brown, Peter Lancaster (1995). Australia's coast of coral and pearl. Sydney: Seal Books. p. 16.
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