Sharks are a natural part of healthy oceanic and estuarine environments. When people enter open water, they are entering the shark's domain.

A better awareness and understanding of sharks and their behaviour can help those who wish to enjoy the world class waterways of New South Wales.

Independent review of emerging technologies for bather protection

An independent review released at the 2015 NSW Shark Summit.


Find tips to help reduce your risk of shark attack, the SharkSmart app and common Q&A's.

Identifying sharks

Information on how to identify the more common sharks.

Research & other NSW DPI activities

Further information relating to shark research initiatives, scientists and papers.

NSW Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) publications

Publications related to the NSW Shark Meshing Program

Observation Tower Grant Program

Information about the NSW Government observation towers grant program.

There are about 368 species of shark.

They differ in the way they look, live and eat with varying shapes, sizes, colour, fins, teeth, habitat, diet, behaviour and reproduction.

Sharks have existed for over 350 million years.

They evolved over 100 million years before dinosaurs, and long before humans.

Fully grown sharks range in size from 16 cm long (dwarf lantern fish) to 15 metres (whale shark).

The females of most shark species are usually larger than males.

Unlike many other fish, sharks have no bones. Their skeleton is made of tough, fibrous cartilage which is not as hard as bone.

Sharks have a range of sensory systems on their heads and bodies, including a keen sense of smell, excellent vision, and unique vibration and electrical discharge senses that enable them to pursue prey and avoid attacks.

Most species of sharks are harmless to humans unless provoked.

There are only three species widely accepted as dangerous and known to attack without provocation. They are bull sharks, great white sharks and tiger sharks.

Bull sharks and great white sharks have been positively identified as responsible for attacks on humans in NSW waters, and tiger sharks have also been thought responsible for numerous attacks.

Sharks were once fished for the rich oil in their livers.

Sharks have relatively large livers that contain oil to provide increased buoyancy.

Sharks must swim constantly or, being heavier than water, they will sink to the bottom.

Almost half the 368 species of shark are less than 1 metre in length.

Sharks can detect tiny electrical fields generated by all animals, for example, from heart beats and other muscle contractions.