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Sunday, July 21, 2024

WA shark-safe beach open for summer

The Swan River’s first beach enclosure is open for summer, with City of Melville Council completing the installation of shark protections at the popular swimming spot, Bicton Baths, today.

The Council said the beach enclosure offers a protected swimming area with a physical barrier to reduce the risk of a shark encounter and, unlike netting programs used on the east coast, it is designed to be non-lethal for marine life.

“We are excited to open the beach enclosure for our community to enjoy over summer,” said said Mayor, Katy Mair.

“Bicton Baths is a well-loved and very popular swimming spot, and the beach enclosure offers a protected swimming area with a physical barrier to reduce the risk of a shark encounter.

“I want to make it clear that the enclosure is a barrier, not a net, and it is designed to be non-lethal towards marine life.

“The enclosure is designed to prevent swimmers and small marine life from getting caught in the barrier, while preventing large marine life such as sharks from entering,” she said.

The installation of the beach enclosure system was funded by the WA Government and cost around $300,000.

Local business, Global Marine Enclosures, supplied and installed the enclosure system, which is approximately 50m long and 50m wide, and attached to the existing jetty structure.

The beach enclosure is made from solid, durable plastic struts that are connected between flexible, high strength horizontal polymer rods, creating openings of 30cm by 30cm.

This optimal opening size was determined in consultation with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

It is designed to prevent swimmers and small marine life from getting caught in the barrier, while preventing large marine life such as sharks from entering.

The Bicton Baths Beach Enclosure.

The Council says it has been working closely with DBCA and DPIRD to assess potential environmental impacts and obtain all necessary approvals.

As part of the planning process, the City also met onsite with Whadjuk representatives to discuss the project.

As a whole, the Whadjuk Knowledge Holders supported the construction of the swimming enclosure at Bicton Baths, as a way to support community safety and provide a place for children to swim.

Shorewater Marine installed access ladders along the jetty, as part of the beach enclosure system. 

“I would like to thank Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley and the State Government for their commitment to making the Bicton Baths beach enclosure a reality,” said Mayor Mair.

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