Shark inquiry quizzes councils
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.