Lennox shark barrier trial discontinued

Attempts to install a shark barrier at Lennox Head have failed. (photo Global Marine Enclosures)

Attempts to install a shark barrier at Lennox Head have failed. (photo Global Marine Enclosures)

By Darren Coyne

Drones flying over Ballina shire beaches could be the main tool to guard against shark encounters this Summer following the failure of shark barriers at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, and now Lennox Head.

Ballina mayor David Wright said everyone involved in the installation of eco-barriers – from the two manufacturers to Department of Primary Industries staff and Surf Clubs – were ‘devastated’ that attempts to install the barrier at Lennox Head would be discontinued.

The DPI announced via its Facebook page yesterday that the manufacturers of the barrier  had advised that sand movement and swell had impacted the installation process, and the trial would be discontinued.

Ballina Shire mayor David Wright. Photo supplied

Ballina Shire mayor David Wright. Photo supplied

Cr Wright said divers inspecting anchor points on the Lennox barrier had discovered that the concrete blocks buried in sand had become exposed and were causing ropes to fray.

‘All was going well. They had two parts of the barrier braced but a couple of hours later when divers inspected they found that the back barrier had become frayed and wasn’t going to work,’ he told Echonetdaily.

DPI staff are on site today working with the manufacturers Global Marine Enclosures to remove the barrier and discontinue the trial.

‘We appreciate that many of you will be disappointed to receive this news,’ a DPI spokesman said.

‘I am sure you can appreciate that both GME and our team share this disappointment.

‘It is important to remember however, that this was a trial aimed at testing whether exclusion barrier technology could be used in Australian east coast conditions.

We are committed to continuing to work closely with you and the local community to explore complementary shark mitigation technologies included in our strategy that may be suited to local conditions.
We will provide another update in the near future.’

Cr Wright said although the failure of the barriers was disappointing, efforts to mitigate shark encounters would continue in the lead-up to the busy Summer holiday season.

‘We are looking at towers on top of the headlands with flashing lights and two-way communication between the drones and surf clubs,’ Cr Wright said.

He said drone technology was improving rapidly, with the latest models able to stay on patrol for up to four hours, carrying cameras, a loud hailer, and even a raft with a shark shield in it.

He stressed that no Ballina Shire Council money had been lost as a result of the failure of the barriers as the trials were being funded by the state government.




2 responses to “Lennox shark barrier trial discontinued”

  1. Fiona Folan says:

    Why didn’t they put them at Mother’s Beach or next to the old kiosk in the rivermouth?

  2. Lavender (K. Lavender, Lennox Head) says:

    At the outset it was said that they were still in the development phase, so it’s no surprise that they failed. Why use Ballina as the testing ground? And why waste all that money? We didn’t really want them anyhow.
    There have to be safer, less invasive ways to deter sharks from doing what comes naturally. After all the sea is their habitat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers.