Shark barrier to be built at Falcon Bay

Fisheries minister Dave Kelly has announced the state government will pay for the installation of a shark barrier at Falcon Bay.

The $200,000 environmentally friendly shark barrier would be part of a package of new anti-shark measures which would focus on new technology, Mr Kelly said.

The government would also make grants available for regional local councils to roll out the Beach Emergency Numbering (BEN) system, which was developed by the City of Mandurah in honour of Falcon surfer Ben Gerring and would improve response times to beach emergencies.

The local community had been calling for more action on sharks since the Falcon surfer Ben Gerring died in a nearby shark attack in 2016.

A shark barrier to be installed at Falcon Bay was a key election commitment of Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup.

Mandurah MP David Templeman at Falcon Bay on Saturday after the announcement. Photo: Supplied.

Mandurah MP David Templeman at Falcon Bay on Saturday after the announcement. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Kelly said the state government was serious about reducing the threat of shark attacks “by making best use of science-based new technology”.

The announcement was welcomed by Mr Kirkup and Mandurah MP David Templeman.

Mr Templeman said he hoped the community could regain some of its confidence it had lost since Mr Gerring died.

“From my perspective, the whole shark issue has caused huge amounts of unease in Mandurah and has impacted on our confidence in the enjoyment of the ocean, which has been part of our life style for more than a hundred years,” he said.

“We’re using emerging technology to address the issue along with patrols and of course the government commitment to make personal deterrents available.”

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup, former Premier Colin Barnett and Falcon locals discussing the Falcon Bay shark barrier before the election. Photo: Kate Hedley.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup, former Premier Colin Barnett and Falcon locals discussing the Falcon Bay shark barrier before the election. Photo: Kate Hedley.

Mr Kirkup thanked the fisheries minister for the announcement and said it would not have happened if it wasn’t for the support of the community.

“This is not only the delivery of an election commitment I made after a community effort that we started in September 2016, this is going to be an important piece of infrastructure that will protect swimmers in Falcon Bay,” he said.

“I have been in touch with the Premier and the minister’s office to thank them for their announcement today and to invite them for a community meeting at the bay where they can share the good news.

“This is an achievement that would have only come about with significant community support and through maintaining the momentum even though the Liberals were not re-elected to government.”

Government’s shark mitigation announcement

  • $200,000 for a trial rebate of $200 for 1000 independently verified devices for surfers and divers. This rebate will be available from May 26, 2017. For more information go to http://www.sharksmart.com.au.
  • Grants for local councils to install Beach Emergency Numbering (BEN) signs, a coding system designed to improve emergency response times. Regional councils can apply for grants of up to $50,000 and metropolitan councils can apply for grants up to $25,000. Funding will be available from 2017-18. Further details will be released following consultation with the Western Australian Local Government Association.
  • Surf Life Saving WA to use drones to monitor beaches, following on from a successful trial in 2016.
  • Two VR4 receivers to detect tagged sharks deployed at Esperance. The locations of these receivers will be determined following community consultation over the coming weeks.
  • $200,000 for the City of Mandurah to install a beach enclosure at Falcon Beach.
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