Thumbs up for Coogee barrier

PARENTS appear to have given Coogee’s shark barrier the thumbs up, rushing to enrol their kids in swimming lessons at the beach.

VacSwim media man David Mitchell says enrolments for January are up by 66 on last year and he expects the final rise to be more than 20 per cent.

Parents hadn’t been asked their reasons so he wasn’t keen to link the barrier’s presence to enrolments.

Funded for three summers by Cockburn council, the barrier was installed this week by inventor Craig Moss from Eco Shark Barrier Australia. He was helped by volunteers from No Shark Cull, a lobby group that has organised petitions and rallies across the country to put an end to the Barnett government’s program.

Coogee has never had a shark attack recorded.

Mr Moss says the success of the barrier last season was “amazing” and notes it did not trap any marine life or break during storms. Most shark “nets” can have devastating impacts on other marine animals.

• Rhiannon Hill and Penny Walker-Keefe normally swim at South Beach but had travelled to Coogee hoping to swim within the netted area. The barrier wasn’t up yet so they hopped in regardless.

• Rhiannon Hill and Penny Walker-Keefe normally swim at South Beach but had travelled to Coogee hoping to swim within the netted area. The barrier wasn’t up yet so they hopped in regardless.

Marine scientist Amanda Elizabeth, who is helping film a shark conservation documentary and attended Tuesday’s launch of the barrier, hopes it is the first of many.

“I hope to see it not only here but also interstate and other areas such as South Africa so people can feel safe without being detrimental to the marine environment,” she says.

Coogee local Beatriz Berbert says the barrier gives her and her family peace of mind in the water.

“It’s their environment,” she says of sharks, while her two kids trotted up the beach with their school. “We are the ones who are invading their space and the barrier recognises that.”

Mr Moss is talking with other coastal councils.

by DARCY HARWOOD

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