Safe ocean swimming for Esperance this summer

  • McGowan Government has allocated $400,000 for a beach enclosure in Esperance
  • Shire of Esperance to manage and operate the enclosure
  • Esperance beach enclosure an important addition to the McGowan Government’s comprehensive $17 million shark mitigation strategy
  • The new Esperance beach enclosure extending more than 300 metres from the James Street groyne is nearing completion and will offer a safe barrier for swimming activities for Esperance locals and tourists alike.

    The McGowan Government is providing $400,000 to the Shire of Esperance following their request for support to purchase and install a beach enclosure.

    Western Australia’s shark mitigation strategy is the most comprehensive in the country, with a range of tools and actions to help keep ocean users and our coastal communities as safe as possible. 

    Beach enclosures are shark barriers made from rigid materials covering the full water column, anchored to the ocean floor and attached to surface floats. They are designed to prevent sharks from entering the enclosure.

    As well as support for coastal beach enclosures, the McGowan Government’s shark mitigation strategy includes the SharkSmart WA app and website, the Sea Sense Awareness campaign, an enhanced program of Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) beach and aerial patrols, a world-first personal shark deterrent subsidy for divers and surfers, and an extended Shark Monitoring Network.

    Esperance has four of the State’s 34 tagged shark detection acoustic receivers, with one each at Kelp Beds and West Beach and two located at Twilight Beach. These locations also feature recently automated Shark Warning System towers, which use lights, sirens and audio alerts to notify beachgoers of shark activity detected in the area.

    The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) shark tagging program, which supports the Shark Monitoring Network, also operates out of Esperance every summer. The program has seen 145 white sharks tagged in WA waters since 2009, 41 of those near Esperance. 

    En route to Esperance this past week, the tagging team from the DPIRD Patrol Vessel Hamelin successfully tagged a 2.6m white shark at Doubtful Islands and a 3.2m white shark near Bremer Bay. Using the PV Hamelin as an ocean base, the tagging team will be out on the water numerous times over summer tagging more white sharks in the Esperance region.

    As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:

    “I congratulate the Shire of Esperance for embracing ocean safety initiatives and its support of WA Government’s shark hazard mitigation measures.

    “Western Australia’s evidence-based shark mitigation strategy is the most comprehensive in the nation, with beach enclosures forming an important component of our approach to help keep ocean users as safe as possible. 

    “The Shire has been managing the project to install the James Street Beach Enclosure and a complementary new lap pontoon, further enhancing the beautiful Esperance Foreshore precinct and ensuring swimmers can safely enjoy a dip in the ocean.”

    As stated by Agricultural Region MLC Shelley Payne:

    “The James Street area is set to become a social and cultural hub for Esperance with many children participating in the annual VacSwim beach swimming lessons there over the years.

    “It is great to hear that the barrier will be in place for the upcoming VacSwim season, making parents feel more comfortable to enrol their children in the lessons offered at the beach.

    “I look forward to seeing both locals and visitors enjoy our beautiful coastline more safely this summer.

    “In this year’s Budget, the State Government has committed an additional $5 million to fund beach enclosures, increase white shark tagging, and meet the demand for subsidised shark deterrent devices.”

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