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Meet the Locals - Sydney Harbour Fish Species
- Wednesday 20th March 2019
Say the words ‘Sydney Harbour,’ and you might think of graceful sailboats, or the iconic green and golden ferries chugging cheerfully from shore to shore. But you might not immediately think about what lives below the glossy green surface. Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s most beautiful waterways, with an abundance of exciting sea life and over 600 fish species waiting for you to discover.
‘Blue’ Your Mind
The Blue Groper fish is a favourite with locals, not for eating, for spotting. A number of bays and beaches around Sydney Harbour have their own resident ‘bluey,’ which is usually given an affectionate nickname such as ‘Frank,’ or ‘George.’ The male Blue Groper can grow to almost a metre in length, with vivid blue colouring, and large lips that sit in a smile-like smirk.
Put A Sting in Your Sail
The Blue Groper is not to be confused with Sydney’s other bluey, the Bluebottle Jellyfish. These salty stingers ride the northeasterly wind, often stranding themselves on local beaches. But luckily, Bluebottles rarely make it past the heads at the entrance of Sydney Harbour, so the inner waters are usually stinger safe.
Sydney Harbour has many netted swimming areas, and if you’re fortunate, you might spot the fascinating Weedy Sea Dragon. Related to the Seahorse, these beautifully intricate creatures are easily identified by their leaf-like appendages that resemble kelp fronds. Despite their brilliant red, yellow and blue colouring, Weedy Seadragons are experts in camouflage. If you do happen to see one, please don’t touch it because they’re delicate and vulnerable to human interference. Right now, scientists are using ‘facial recognition’ software to monitor and protect them.
Long Labour Of Love
Did you know Port Jackson is the official name for Sydney Harbour? The Port Jackson Shark was named after the harbour, where it’s often spotted swimming across rocky reefs. The most surprising thing about these sharks is their eggs, which are shaped like a corkscrew. Using her mouth, the female pushes each egg into a crevice in the rock, where it hardens and becomes anchored firmly in place. This is important because the baby shark can take up to 12 months to hatch!
Higher on the excitement scale is the Grey Nurse Shark. These elegant sharks once had a reputation as man-eaters, but the reality is, they won’t bite unless in self-defence. Still, at up to 3.5 metres long, you wouldn’t want to be surprised by one. The Grey Nurse population is sadly in decline, so the only guaranteed way to see one is in a controlled situation.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium offers exhilarating shark dives, allowing you to come face to fin with these exhilarating creatures. Your underwater encounter also gets you up close to incredible giant rays, and other local Sydney sea life, without leaving the CBD. While you’re there, spend some quality time with the Weedy Seadragons and meet the Blue Gropers. You might want to think of a cute nickname for them first.
There’s so much sea life to explore in Sydney, whether you’re swimming in the harbour or diving with sharks at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium; so go on, take the plunge! Buy your tickets online in advance to save up to 20%.