Shark barrier likely for a comeback

At its monthly meeting on Thursday, Cockburn councillors agreed to commence negotiations with Eco Shark Barrier and the State Government with the aim of continuing the trial for a further three years.

The move comes on the back of survey results showing the public are in favour of the barrier.

Consultation with coastal project engineers M P Rogers and Associates also concluded waves were ‘largely unaffected’ by the barrier, with ‘no significant changes to Coogee Beach’ as a result of the trial.

Although it is hard to know if the barrier had any impact on shark movements, considering no attacks have been recorded at the beach, 94 per cent of people surveyed said it reduced the risk of a shark encounter.

Ninety-four per cent of people also said the barrier was a safe area to swim.

A second trial of the barrier would see it installed for 36 straight months, providing a ‘more robust’ trial of the barrier’s ability to withstand different wave action and storms.

This time inventor Craig Moss is not willing to foot the bill for its re-installation and ongoing maintenance, leaving Council to spend $100,000 per year on leasing the barrier. An annual clean and inspections could add a further $30,000 each year to that cost.

Cockburn Council hopes the State Government will help co-fund the trial although it is still unclear if it will come on board, considering it funded its own trial at Old Dunsborough Beach.