Perth beach in the swim for shark cable

Swimmers could be protected by an electromagnetic shark cable at North Cottesloe. Picture: Jon Bassett
Swimmers could be protected by an electromagnetic shark cable at North Cottesloe. Picture: Jon Bassett

NORTH Cottesloe is one of three beaches in the running for a South African electromagnetic cable being proposed by Joondalup shark shield makers Ocean Guardian.

“My preference is to find the site with the lowest sea states, and North Cottesloe isn’t bad because if you look at the swell history it’s manageable,” Ocean Guardian chief executive Lindsay Lyon said.

In 2000, a great white killed swimmer Ken Crew in shallow water at North Cottesloe, triggering two decades of attempts by his mates for an ocean pool.

Mr Lyon said he planned to decide in July which of North Cottesloe, Bunbury and Ballina in NSW would be proposed for a cable to be installed about October.

He is waiting for cable developer the KwaZulu-Natal Shark Board to calculate the cost and maintenance needed at each site.

In April, the board twice visited North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club looking for the cable’s first commercial site outside South Africa.

“It is very low maintenance because it’s really just a cable on the top or the bottom of the sea with drop-lines that just float around not catching seaweed,” Mr Lyon said.

The power supply could go down the club’s boat ramp, under sand and out to sea.

Surf lifesavers told the board an offshore channel used by sharks made their beach a prime location for an offshore cable going about 400m north to Grant Street.

“It’s not a physical barrier so it doesn’t pick up weed or affect our surf skis, surfboards and rubber duckies getting in and out,” North Cottesloe SLSC president Ian Clarke said.

North Cottesloe ocean pool proponent Chris Shellabear said the cable was unrelated, but a community board for his project would be established this year.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said he looked forward to any detailed cable proposal based on science that dealt with the technology, cost and any Government contribution.

Cottesloe Council is considering tenders for a physical shark barrier south at Cottesloe Beach next summer.

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