Shark spotted in Encounter Lakes at Encounter Bay potentially whaler, gummy shark

ENCOUNTER BAY – It seems the rumours are true: There is a shark living at Encounter Lakes.

A shark was spotted in the man-made lake near houses on Clipper Court at around 5.30pm on Thursday, September 22.

Mike and Joan Robinson, of Encounter Bay, were visiting friends, enjoying the view from inside, when they saw something unusual.

“I said, ‘There’s a fin’, but I wasn’t sure if it was a dolphin or a shark,” Mr Robinson said.

“It didn’t come up for air so it wasn’t a dolphin.” 

He said the shark was about six feet long (just under two metres), and their friends, who have lived there “a few years” have never seen anything like it.

​Mrs Robinson said she was a little worried about it, as people swim and kayak on the lake, and children have swimming lessons there.

“It’s something you don’t see there often,” she said.

The Times contacted both the SA Museum and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) to see if their specialists could identify what species of shark was residing in the lake.

A DEWNR spokesperson said the type of shark could not be positively identified by these photos.

“While a specific ID is not possible from the fin alone, it may be a species of whaler shark,” the spokesperson said.

“These sharks are known to move between the ocean and river estuaries.”

But SA Museum’s ichthyology (branch of biology which studies fish) collection manager Ralph Foster said it was most probably something less sinister.

“I’ve examined the photographs but they really don’t show enough to identify the shark with certainty,” he said.

“However, from the shape of the dorsal fin, I’m reasonably certain it isn’t anything ‘scary’.

“The fin looks most like that of a gummy shark though, in my opinion, it’d be quite unusual for a gummy shark of this size to be in really shallow water so close to shore. Something of a mystery.”

Mr Foster is keen to see better photographs of the shark – if you have any, email them to with the subject ‘Encounter Lakes shark photos’. 

This story Shark spotted at Encounter Lakes first appeared on The Times.


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