Second Shark Barrier Trial Scrapped

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A second shark barrier trial planned for the North Coast has been abandoned.

The shark barrier trials were announced last year as part of a $16 million State Government package in response to a spate of shark attacks in the region.

Plans for a so-called eco barrier at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach were scrapped last month due to ongoing rough conditions.

Now, a similar but smaller enclosure with a slightly different design, off nearby Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head, has been declared unworkable.

Ballina Mayor David Wright said the contractor had spotted the problem earlier this week, just as the final section of mesh was about to be installed.

“The barrier on the seaward side had frayed and had become detached, and therefore he knew that his design was not going to work,” Cr Wright said.

“It was his decision to pull the plug and he’s now in the process of pulling it out.”

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said the shark-barrier technology might work elsewhere.

“The engineers, the manufacturers believe they can be successful,” he said.

“That may require more time and more work, and we’re happy to work with the manufacturers on that.

“They might decide [on] choosing different sites. We’re open to that as well.

“We have committed on a range of strategies in relation to sharks.

“Obviously when you’re trialling new technology, there is a risk on all of it that some will be very successful and some won’t.”

Trial Costs Budgeted For

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair would not say how much money had been spent on the unsuccessful trials.

“The cost associated with it is certainly something that we had budgeted for,” he said.

“We didn’t put all of our eggs into one basket.

“We shouldn’t be scared of trialling new things, and [the] first stage was to see if we could safely and successfully install this type of hardware on the east coast.

“Unfortunately I think we’ve got our answer.”

Mr Blair said there were plenty of other measures the Government was dealing with.

“We’re certainly happy with the results that we’ve been getting with our aerial surveillance, and that’s something that will be ramped up coming into summer,” he said.

“We still have our 4-G listening devices, which paired with our tagging program are providing good information, and also our smart drumlines.”

Source: ABC News

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