Shark barrier in business at Cottesloe beach

Eco Shark Barrier CEO Craig Moss and Town of Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers at Cottesloe Beach for the new shark barrier installation. Picture: David Baylis
Eco Shark Barrier CEO Craig Moss and Town of Cottesloe Mayor Phil Angers at Cottesloe Beach for the new shark barrier installation. Picture: David Baylis

COTTESLOE Mayor Phil Angers hopes the long-awaited Eco Shark Barrier will boost swimmer and business confidence.

“We’re hoping the barrier will bring confidence back to the beach and with that, confidence and trade for businesses on the foreshore,” Mr Angers said.

In June, the council agreed to spend $835,000 over four years to install the 310m non-lethal barrier from Cottesloe Groyne to north of the Indiana restaurant.

The barrier comprises sections of reinforced plastic grids with gaps for fish and other marine life to swim through that are anchored to the seafloor and reach the surface.

Two sections were expected to be installed yesterday, with most of the remainder expected to be in place today.

The installation follows the Barnett government’s failed shark cull during the summer of 2013-14.

The shark barrier installation underway. Picture: David Baylis

Mr Angers said a barrier was not installed in Cottesloe the following year because the Liberal government refused funding.

However, the council decided earlier this year the measure was worth its own investment.

The last suspected shark attack at Cottesloe beach was in 2011.

Business owners in Cottesloe are generally confident that the new shark barrier will bring positive attention and a long-term sense of security for visitors.

Cottesloe General store co-owner Linda Kenny-Cassell said tourists were essential for Cottesloe but many currently wouldn’t swim because of a fear of sharks.

Ms Kenny-Cassell said tourists often bought add-ons such as towels, sunscreen and hats, whereas local supporters may only purchase a meal.

Vidler’s Seaside co-owner Grant Eastland said the barrier would “definitely” boost tourism.

“Even in the shop you hear people that have that fear of sharks in their minds,” Mr Eastland said.

However, Cottesloe Beach Hotel manager Vic Rospoptsis isn’t expecting the shark barrier to make a difference to business trade.

“What’s the difference? They’re always swimming here. The weather doesn’t even stop them,” he said.

Amberjacks fish and chips owner Tim Wood said he wasn’t expecting it to make a difference to business trade, “but if it brings people back to the beach that’s a good thing as  Cottesloe Beach has been quiet in the years I’ve had this business”.

Cottesloe Gelato Bar owner Vickie Hills said only time would tell if the barrier boosted trade.

The barrier will be removed before the start of winter for the surf season.