WA Shark Shield developer Lindsay Lyon has broken his silence about the scrapped shark cull and world exploitation of the animals before the second Ocean Safety Forum in Perth next Saturday.
‘I was in Monaco two weeks ago, with Prince Rainier, and he said how can we get the message to everyone that six to 10 shark attack fatalities each year worldwide is nothing when 100 million sharks are killed each year,’ Mr Lyon said.
He avoided the shark cull debate because of criticism it would have been used to promote his electronic device, developed in South Africa for scuba diving tanks. It is now being designed in Joondalup to fit surfboards, using $300,000 from the State Government’s shark attack mitigation program.
The shield sends out a 2.5v underwater electronic current about 4m-6m that can overpower the sensitive, fluid-filled sacks in a shark’s nose. Sharks have evolved to use only one billionth of a volt to sense prey.
‘The WA Government has done a reasonable job in shark attack education and it’s invested in WA research,’ Mr Lyon said.
However, forum organiser Natalie Banks said the Government had not supported attack prevention methods from the first forum in March, including more tagging, cliff-top observers and barriers.
She said the Government had instead backed research into devices such as seabed bubble curtains and camouflage wetsuits, which may not have results within ‘five to 10 years’.
‘And unless the plastic Eco Shark Barrier requested by Cottesloe Council is trialled, Premier Colin Barnett cannot say whether it will work or not, particularly when its inventor says a new design can cope with the waves and weed,’ she said.
Forum speakers will explain the Government’s Dunsborough shark enclosure using a net, South Africa’s Shark Spotters program, shark monitoring and tagging, and Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett will talk about his council’s plastic barrier at Coogee Beach.
– The free forum is at Perth Town Hall, 2pm-4.30pm, November 15.