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Shark Bay’s Population and Economy

The Shire of Shark Bay is a small but striving community with a permanent population of just under 1,000 people. The main settlements are Denham and Useless Loop, a ‘closed’ mining town about 250 km from Denham (by road) or 25 km across the bay (by boat or aircraft).

People also live at a variety of locations scattered across the Shark Bay region, including the Billabong and Overlander roadhouses and several pastoral stations. For more information visit the Shire of Shark Bay.You can also learn more about the Shark Bay community here. Visit the Shark Bay Tourism Association website for details on tourism businesses in Shark Bay.

Shark Bay’s economy

Fishing trawler in Shark BayShark Bay’s main industries are tourism, fishing and pastoralism (sheep, cattle and goat grazing). There is a salt evaporation works (the Shark Bay Joint Salt Venture), established at Useless Loop in the 1960s, and also a small cultured pearl industry.

The reliance of these industries on the natural environment means conservation management is another significant source of employment. Shark Bay’s listing as a World Heritage Area in 1991 also means that there is an obligation to care for the region’s environmental values to ensure they are not compromised, diminished or destroyed. The Western Australian Government is responsible for the day-to-day management of the World Heritage Area, and officers from the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Department of Fisheries are permanently based in the region.

You can discover more about Shark Bay’s people and economy at the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre in Denham.

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