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Fears of shark attack in Dubai dismissed

An alleged shark attack on a surfer in Dubai has been dismissed by experts, according to Abu Dhabi’s National Newspaper.


Photo: Amy Leang / The National

On the 27th January, headlines in the 7 Days Newspaper, saying “Shark bites Dubai surfer”, a story is told of Australian surfer Michael Geraghty is reported to have been pulled off his surfboard while riding the waves in Dubai. In the newspaper report he says that he felt something “yank him from the board” and then saw pools of blood in the water.

Shark attacks in the Arabian Gulf are very rare, in as much as shark sightings in Dubai are extremely rare save for the habitual whale shark sightings every summer. According to Mr. Geraghty, the doctor confirmed to him that it was a bite and that there were teeth marks around the big gash in the ball of his foot.

The spearfishing community in Dubai have reported odd sightings of a bull shark close to the Mina Seyahi area, and in recent years there were rumours of a bull shark sighted close the Burj Al Arab hotel. Photographic evidence has not been submitted.

In an article in The National Newspaper, a photograph of Geraghty’s foot injury has been published along with a comment from the Senior Environmental Manager at Nakheel Mr. Shaun Lenehan, also a resident Dubai diver and marine biologist. Lenehan says “difficult to tell from the photos whether it was definitely a shark” and “you can distinguish the repetitive pattern of the dentition breaking the skin along the line of the laceration but it all depends on the angle of the bite. The stitches and dressing obscure the line of the cut slightly so its hard to see.” He also went on to say that Geraghty would have been the best judge and if he did not get a look at the wound he could not say for sure that it was a shark. It may have been a barracuda or another largish predator.

Photo from The National – courtesy Michael Geraghty

Sara-Lise Haith
Sara-Lise Haith
Sara-Lise is the former News Editor for She is based in Dubai.