Shark Exclusion Nets & Barriers
Shark Barriers are becoming a feature along our beautiful West Australian coastline. A well designed and installed enclosure can create a haven perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and beach play. Barriers give beach goers a sense of confidence whilst enjoying our beautiful beaches and river.
Nearly ten years ago, back in 2014, the City of Busselton first approached Crackpots to participate in a trial shark exclusion barrier project at the Dunsborough town beach. The Crackpots team designed, built and installed this shark barrier together with the City of Busselton and their staff.
The barrier used was a 500m long exclusion net, and was installed between early January and April 2014. The net enclosed a section of beach to create a safe swimming zone. The trial was deemed a success by the City and locals, and the barrier remained in place and operational for the duration of the trial.
That first trial installation showed that Crackpots’ design successfully addressed the key issues that the City had looked to resolve:
- Creating a safer designated swimming area that gave confidence to people swimming at the beach
- A cost effective solution for the council, across both the initial purchase of the barrier and the long term upkeep and maintenance of the net
- Lowering the environmental impact of the exclusion net through design
From 2014 onwards, Crackpots has continued to refine its shark barrier design and installation methodology. In addition to the shark barrier installed at Dunsborough, they have supplied solutions for the beach at Busselton, and in Ceduna, South Australia.
These installations have shown that the net solution performs well across its life span, as well as giving valuable data on the maintenance and upkeep required.
Shark Barriers, NOT Shark Nets
It’s important to understand the difference between the Shark Barriers that Crackpots have supplied, and the Shark nets that are used along the Eastern Seaboard, particularly in New South Wales.
The nets deployed in NSW are a large open mesh size, approximately 50 to 60cm. They are designed to entangle sharks. Unfortunately they don’t discriminate and often catch and kill many more non-target species, than the targetted shark species.
Additionally they are not actually a barrier, and don’t create a safe enclosed swimming area. They are 150m long nets, under the surface of the water specifically designed for catching.
The Dunsborough trial showed that the Crackpots’ design was safe for marine life generally. It avoided fish and other marine animals becoming caught or entangled in the netting. They created safe swimming environments, without creating other environmental side effects.