Cove closed despite shark barrier

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Swimmers have been advised not to swim at Ellen Cove when Middleton Beach is closed because of a shark detection despite the presence of a shark barrier.

The City of Albany said it did not support swimming inside the Ellen Cove shark barrier after the closure of Middleton Beach last Thursday when a tagged tiger shark was detected nine times within a 40-minute period. The tagged shark was first detected just after 3.30pm and last set off the receiver at 4.10pm.

The receiver is outside the Ellen Cove shark barrier.

City rangers erected signs advising of the beach closure and detection, including at the Ellen Cove barrier, with swimmers urged to come out of the enclosure.

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Readers who contacted the Albany Advertiser via Facebook last week expressed confusion as to why the Ellen Cove swimming enclosure was closed. City of Albany manager ranger and emergency services Tony Ward said it was necessary for safety reasons to close Middleton Beach all the way to Emu Point after a confirmed sighting or detection.

“When the City of Albany receives a confirmed shark sighting, the City must act in a manner that ensures the greatest level of public safety that can be reasonably provided,” he said. “This is achieved by closing the entire portion of the beach from Emu Point to Ellen Cove to members of the public.

“The Ellen Cove swimming enclosure is automatically included in this closure.”

“Swimming in the enclosure under such circumstances is not supported.”

A tiger shark was detected 141 times by the same Ellen Cove receiver on March 1, which also forced the closure of Middleton Beach.

The Global Marine Enclosures-designed barrier has been in place for 12 months and was praised by the City last summer.

“The City is very happy with the performance of the swimming enclosure and is continuing to work closely with contractors Global Marine Enclosures to refine the design and performance of the enclosure in keeping with the spirit of participating in the trial of this new swimming enclosure technology,” chief executive Andrew Sharpe said in December.

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