WA Beach To Be Enclosed By $200k Shark Barrier
"Providing these water users with additional protection makes the most sense.”
One year ago 29 year-old Ben Gerring was surfing with pals at Falcon Beach, Mandurah, when a large shark attacked him from behind, severing his leg above the knee. Shortly after Ben succumbed to his injuries. Ben is one of 15 individuals who have been killed by sharks in Western Australia since 2000, along with 17 year-old Laeticia Brouwer, who died after she was attacked whilst surfing with her father near Esperance on the south coast a month ago.
Now the state government has announced that it will encircle Falcon Beach with a seabed-to-surface flexible barrier aimed at providing a safe haven for beach goers. Coming at a cost of $200k, the barrier is part of a $6mil attack prevention package proposed by the government that also includes aerial, beach, drone and jetski patrols as well as $200 rebates for individuals who purchase approved Shark Shield deterrent devices.
When probed on the successful (yet controversially harmful) netting programs deployed on the countries eastern states, premier Mark McGowen believes that these systems wouldn't be effective for use in the west. “I don’t think anyone really supports nets and I think you do need the right sort of coastal typography to make them work,” he told The Australian, citing a lack of headlands along the coastline.
With the revelation of this 'non-lethal' prevention package over the weekend, the cull debate continues. The Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said he hadn't ruled out the option while Opposition fisheries spokesperson Lisa Harvey said the government should accept the need to go after rogue sharks with baiting. “They are still refusing to bait for large sharks after someone’s life has been taken — I think that’s a mistake,” she said.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly stated that he believed a shark cull was not the preferred solution to the increase in attacks, rather intelligent preventative methods like that proposed over the weekend. “A total of 13 out of 15 victims of fatal shark attacks since 2000 have been surfers or divers,” Mr Kelly said. “Faced with these facts, providing these water users with additional protection makes the most sense.”