Cottesloe becomes first Perth council to approve coastal shark warning system


The town of Cottesloe is expected to be the first metropolitan council to have a Spectur audio and visual shark alert system on its coastline.

The city has asked the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to donate two units that were once used in southwest Washington state.

The town of Busselton and the counties of Augusta-Margaret River and Esperance use similar units, but Cottesloe is expected to be the first metropolitan council to use the Spectur system.

Advisors approved the donation at this week’s meeting and will consult with surf lifesaving clubs on where they should be used.

“Cottesloe Beach is one of the busiest beaches in Washington State and the only popular beach in the city to have seen fatal shark attacks,” said Peter Godfrey, director of operations for DPIRD at statewide.

“It is patrolled by Surf Life Saving WA during the summer months and there are offshore shark watch network receivers located on the beaches of Cottesloe and North Cottesloe.”

The father of three, Ken Crew, died just yards from shore on North Cottesloe Beach in 2000 and a coronial inquest heard that Bryn Martin, 64, had been kidnapped by a great white shark in 2011.

There have been three other injuries in Cottesloe waters since 2000, including a second person injured at the same time as the Ken Crew incident.

The units, which emit a light visual alarm, can be triggered automatically if a tagged shark is detected by detection buoys about 800m from shore.

The warning includes shouted instructions to leave the water, which could be heard by swimmers up to 400m from shore.

The North Cottesloe and Cottesloe surf rescue clubs have indicated their support for the system.

Mr Godfrey said the department’s shark response unit had approached several coastal councils in Western Australia about shark warning units, but to no avail.

“These local government areas have not indicated an immediate requirement to install shark warning towers,” he said.

“The department will continue to work with local government and other land managers to ensure that appropriate shark risk mitigation processes are in place.

“This may make the remaining Shark Warning Towers available, if this is seen as a useful addition to existing strategies.”


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