State funding a barrier to success

Eco Shark Barrier inventor Craig Moss and Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett. Picture: Martin Kennealey d426322
Eco Shark Barrier inventor Craig Moss and Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett. Picture: Martin Kennealey d426322

The Kingsley resident had success when the barrier was installed at Coogee Beach from December until April and further good fortune when Cockburn Council agreed to look at ways it could co-fund the trial for a further three years.

Further to that was news the Environmental Protection Authority had recommended against the State Government’s controversial drum line program.

With that in mind Mr Moss was hopeful his concept would shoot to the top of the list of any future shark mitigation options considered by the government.

‘I just want to be part of the equation,’ he said.

‘At the end of the day it’s one of those things where we’re trying to get the point across that it can handle all conditions and that it can be installed at Leighton, Cottesloe, Trigg or any beach.’

Mr Moss has had interest from a number of councils, but most want to lease the barrier through a co-contribution plan with the government.

Following a positive trial period, Cockburn Council has agreed to go dollar-for-dollar up to $75,000 to get the barrier back in the water. The three- year lease will cost $100,000 per year plus an extra $30,000 annually for cleaning and inspections.

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said representatives from the City were planning to meet with the State Government in the next week to discuss funding.

‘The EPA’s decision is a clear indication of the need for alternative environmentally friendly options to protect against sharks while also protecting sharks,’ he said.

‘The eco shark barrier forms part of a wider consideration to mitigate against shark attacks off our coastline.’

How much success the City will have is unknown, considering the State Government told parliament in June it would not contribute to the extended trial.

Despite confirming there will be no static drum lines placed in the water this summer, a spokesman from the Department of Premier and Cabinet failed to say whether the eco shark barrier was something the State Government would consider.

He said the drum line program was just one of a number of initiatives put in place to make beaches safer, with $1.9 million in science research grants offered up to develop non-lethal methods of deterring sharks.

That included $165,000 for a Dunsborough beach enclosure trial and $300,000 on electronic surfboard fin deterrents.