Eco shark barrier ready despite surfers’ protests on location

13 Jul

By Maggie Skow, Bond University Journalism Student

Popular surf spot Lighthouse Beach at Ballina will have a cutting edge eco shark barrier installed later this month despite protests from surfers about its location.

The eco barrier has been recommended as a progressive alternative to nets and drum lines, like those used on the Gold Coast, which have killed 16 sharks between January and March this year. 

Surfers have protested against the location of the proposed barrier, as it will run through the surf zone. 

Local surfer Zach Griffiths said the barrier would impact on the best waves and risk surfers becoming entangled in the barrier.

“The breaks at Lighthouse are the best around and anything that might ruin that or make it dangerous to surf there has to be stopped,” Mr Griffiths said.

The barrier is to be installed by Eco Shark Barrier and spokesperson for the company, Leanne Moss, said it had been successfully trialled. 

“It is highly unlikely the barrier will do any harm,” Ms Moss said. 

“It has been in place at Coogee Beach, Western Australia for two years without causing harm to any persons or animals.”

A Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesperson said Lighthouse Beach was chosen due to three serious attacks there in 2015, including a fatality. 

 “We investigated the requests from local surfers to extend the barrier…however, due to the significant navigational risk this would create for commercial and recreational vessels, we cannot meet these requests,” the spokesperson said. 

“We recognise that local surfers may be impacted by the barrier trial and will capture their views as a part of the evaluation of the barriers.”

The New South Wales Shark Management Strategy includes aerial surveillance, shark tagging with satellite location, SharkSmart app, shark spotting and eco barriers.

A press release from Queensland Fisheries Minister Leanne Donaldson’s website said Queensland will monitor the trial before considering them.

 

A DPI survey is available to express community opinion at www.surveymonkey.com/r/barrier-survey, which closes on July 20, 2016.

 

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