City puz­zled about sharks in en­clo­sure

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Jes­sica Cuth­bert

Au­thor­i­ties are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing how two sharks were found in­side the Ellen Cove swim­ming en­clo­sure in the past two months.

The City of Al­bany said the net re­mained in­tact af­ter a 1.8m bronze whaler was spot­ted by swim­mers in­side the en­clo­sure on Novem­ber 24.

It was cap­tured and re­leased later that day.

It fol­lowed the dis­cov­ery of a dead 1.5m mako shark in Oc­to­ber.

City of Al­bany ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor in­fras­truc­ture and en­vi­ron­ment Matthew Thom­son said in­spec­tions had found the net was at­tached and se­cured.

“There was no ob­vi­ous way the shark could have swum into the en­clo­sure; how the shark came to be in the en­clo­sure re­mains a mys­tery and we are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble causes in con­junc­tion with the man­u­fac­turer,” he said.

Mr Thom­son said the City would not take fur­ther pre­cau­tions to en­sure the func­tion of the net.

“The swim­ming en­clo­sure is de­signed to pro­vide an area that is safer for peo­ple to swim, and it is,” he said.

“The en­clo­sure has been do­ing the job it was de­signed to do and, while it is im­pos­si­ble to rule out that a shark could get in there, it is very un­likely so we don’t think it is nec­es­sary to take any fur­ther pre­cau­tions.

“The en­clo­sure has been in place as a three-year trial and been per­form­ing suc­cess­fully as it has had to ac­com­mo­date a num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors in­clud­ing the move­ment of sea­grass and sea­sonal storm events.

“The three-year trial comes to an end early next year, so we will be eval­u­at­ing its per­for­mance and con­sid­er­ing op­tions for the fu­ture.”

Mr Thom­son said the City sus­pected the dead mako had been dumped in the en­clo­sure.

“A closer in­spec­tion found the shark had sus­tained in­juries con­sis­tent with fish­ing; the en­clo­sure has been in place for al­most three years, so it is odd that we have found th­ese two small sharks within the en­clo­sure in the past two months, but we have no ev­i­dence to con­firm the shark was put in there de­lib­er­ately,” he said.

“We en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to let us know about any is­sues they no­tice with the en­clo­sure, or if they see any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in the area, to re­port it to the po­lice.”

A full in­spec­tion of the net found it was in­tact

The 1.8m whaler was spot­ted in­side the net on Satur­day, Novem­ber 24.

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