Perth engineering firm vows to built ‘best ever’ shark barrier for Lennox
THE firm building the Lennox Head shark barrier has vowed to build a stronger, better version after their first model at a beach at Albany in Western Australia's south coast was damaged less than two weeks after installation.
Perth-based Global Marine Enclosures was awarded the contract to build the 650m Lennox Head shark barrier by the NSW Government earlier this year.
GME Managing director Edward Khoury said the engineering firm's Middleton Beach barrier was damaged when a giant clump of seaweed accumulated in the surf zone during a huge storm and pushed through the barrier in a single mass.
While the event was "unprecedented" in terms of the volume of seaweed hitting the beach, he said the company had made modifications the design to prevent it happening again.
"We were unlucky, unfortunately… but what we've got is an opportunity to make the barrier stronger," Mr Khoury said.
"We're very confident that the changes we make will work."
He said the company had applied "34 years' experience in plastic polymers" to the engineering challenge of devising a durable eco-friendly shark barrier, a goal which it had been pursuing since 2011.
He said it was no small feat because the natural forces exerted on man-made structures in the ocean was about 200 tonnes.
At 650m long and travelling 250m out to sea in a rough rectangular pattern the Lennox Head barrier will be more than twice the size of the Albany barrier.
It uses a 16mm marine grade rope horizontally, connected to vertical nylon struts, anchored to the seabed with a series of 2.5 tonne concrete blocks.
"We're working with very very smart marine engineers, and we've got something special we believe," Mr Khoury said.
"This technology is not just overnight technology… it's been tested by the University of Tasmania."
Ballina and Lennox Head are set to become the proving ground for new shark barrier technologies as the NSW Government has opted to contract two different West Australian companies to build the two barriers.
The Ballina barrier at Lighthouse Beach is being constructed by Eco Shark Barrier, and was set to commence construction this week.
The Lennox Head barrier is scheduled to be built in July and require an estimated 15 days to build.