Today Shark Bay is a popular destination for nature-based recreation. It began with fishing and the Monkey Mia dolphin experience, which both remain popular alongside a growing demand for other Shark Bay experiences.
Popular activities include fishing, camping, four-wheel driving, birdwatching, snorkelling, diving, boating, kayaking and photography.
Careful environmental management is vital for the protection and maintenance of Shark Bay’s World Heritage values and some areas previously used for pastoralism have been purchased for conservation.
Since 1990 pastoral lands have been purchased for conservation:
- Peron, a 40,000 hectare station grazed since 1881, was bought by the Western Australian Government in 1990 and gazetted as Francois Peron National Park in 1992. Feral animal control programs under Project Eden have resulted in rejuvenation of degraded ecosystems and the reintroduction of threatened species into the park.
- In 1999 the Australian Wildlife Conservancy purchased Faure Island, embarking on a successful program to eradicate sheep and goats then introduce native species.
- Nanga Station was bought by the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments in December 2000 to better conserve Shark Bay’s World Heritage values, including its tree heath.
- Part of Tamala Station is proposed as a nature reserve, to better protect the spectacular Zuytdorp Cliffs. Tamala also features historic water tanks, wells and stock fences.
- Most of Dirk Hartog Island was declared a national park in 2009 and an ecological restoration project is eradicating feral animals in preparation for restoring native species to the island.
- Bush Heritage purchased Hamelin Station in 2015 for conservation purposes.