Shark in­quiry quizzes coun­cils

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

A SE­NATE in­quiry has asked the City of Joondalup to share its “great mes­sage” with other lo­cal gov­ern­ments about the suc­cess of its in­te­grated, lo­cal mea­sures to tackle fears of shark at­tack.

“There are clearly les­sons and op­por­tu­ni­ties from your ex­am­ple for other coun­cils right along the WA coast­line,” Se­na­tor Sue Lines told Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard at the Se­nate Shark Mit­i­ga­tion and De­ter­rent Mea­sures In­quiry hear­ing in Perth last month.

In the west­ern sub­urbs, a City Beach trial of sonar-based shark de­tec­tion de­vices is ex­pected to end soon and Cottes­loe Coun­cil will this year in­ves­ti­gate which of sev­eral sea pool pro­pos­als to po­ten­tially in­clude in its $26 mil­lion fore­shore re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion plan.

The Se­nate in­quiry is in­ves­ti­gat­ing pro­tec­tion and the ef­fec­tive­ness of de­ter­rents, shark pop­u­la­tion re­search, ed­u­ca­tion about shark bites and the ef­fect of at­tacks on tourism na­tion­ally.

Mr Pickard said he be­came con­cerned and held a shark sum­mit when acous­tic de­tec­tion bea­cons were trig­gered “dozens” of times by two sharks re­turn­ing to north­ern beaches dur­ing a week in 2012.

“We formed a view that it would be best to have the largest pos­si­ble beach en­clo­sure for our coast­line, which was at a cost of $910,000,” Mr Pickard said.

Se­na­tors chal­lenged the ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the ef­fec­tive­ness of the sub­se­quently-built 430m by 270m Eco Shark Bar­rier at Sor­rento Beach, but Mr Pickard said 72 more car­bays were needed for en­clo­sure users, swim­mers stayed from early morn­ing to late at night and vis­i­tor num­bers to the area had in­creased.

He said the Mul­laloo Surf Life Sav­ing Club Beach­lab ini­tia­tive added a “sec­ond in­ter­est­ing pil­lar” to lo­cal shark at­tack pre­ven­tion.

The club in­stalled acous­tic warn­ing bea­cons close to shore that send alerts to Surf Life Sav­ing WA, swim­mers and shore-based alarms when trig­gered by a tagged shark.

The pre­vi­ous state gov­ern­ment par­tially funded the Sor­rento bar­rier, the City Beach trial and sev­eral swim­ming en­clo­sures in the South-west.

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly said his pri­or­ity was fin­ish­ing a shark mit­i­ga­tion strat­egy and the Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to us­ing “a va­ri­ety of new and ex­ist­ing mea­sures”, but Bud­get al­lo­ca­tions were not com­plete.

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