Global Marine Enclosures

Fisheries Minister Joe Francis displays Aquarius Barrier PROPOSED for Quinns Beach Wanneroo

Today the Western Australian State Government announced the next round of funding allocations for shark barrier swimming enclosures. A new barrier will be installed at Quinn's Beach in Wanneroo and another at Sorrento Beach in Joondalup. 

The Fisheries Minister, Joe Francis, made the announcement alongside the sample display of the Aquarius Barrier (pictured below). 

According to Mr Francis, the enclosure at Quinns Rocks would provide peace-of-mind to thousands of swimmers who used the beach each year. He also said that the enclosure would be an eco-friendly design to ensure it did not trap sea-life and allowed fish to swim through.

Fisheries Minister Joe Francis alongside Global Marine Enclosures' Aquarius Barrier sample. 

Aquarius Barrier Progress Report and Underwater Images

The Aquarius Barrier has been well-received by the Albany community - including the local marine wildlife.

The Aquarius Barrier will be cleaned every 3 months so that the growth build up remains manageable, but after a month and a half the Aquarius Barrier is turning into an artificial reef and is attracting a lot of fish and marine species. 

Middleton Beach Update: New Aquarius Barrier Section Performing Well

The new section of the Aquarius Barrier at Middleton Beach, Albany, was completed on the 6th April. The reinstallation process was a lot smoother as we figured out new ways to improve the process. The new section was delivered in a single piece that meant even less disruption to the beach. 

We promised the Albany community a barrier that was better suited to the unique conditions at Middleton Beach. We upgraded the undamaged section and replaced an entire section in the damaged area, so that the barrier features a greater vertical strength across the entire length. We are very confident in the new design improvements and early results suggest that the barrier is performing very well in its environment. 

Our local monitoring report conducted by Paul from SUPLime indicated that the new design was doing very well: 

"The barrier seems to be in great condition and the new design is holding up well - the amount of people I witnessed throughout the day was also encouraging"

The barrier had testing swell and weather conditions as a storm passed through last Friday, but the upgraded design appears to have handled it well with no reported damage or issues. 

We will continue to provide regular updates here to inform the local Albany community of how the upgraded Aquarius Barrier is performing at Middleton Beach. 

Global Marine Enclosures' upgraded design of the Aquarius Barrier at Middleton Beach, Albany.
Small clusters of leafy seaweed on Global Marine Enclosures' upgraded Aquarius Barrier design.

Middleton Beach Damage: The Facts

On the 15th March our Aquarius Barrier at Middleton Beach Albany was subject to near extreme storm conditions combined with an unprecedented influx of seagrass. The combination of these events led to a problem in the surf zone near the beach, where the seagrass does not have room to pass through due to the shallow depth, and where the ocean forces are most focussed. There was an enormous mass of seagrass that accumulated on the barrier and eventually broke through, causing a large tear and extended damage in a section.

The maintenance dive team immediately reduced the flotation on the barrier and stabilised with mooring ropes as we prepared for a replacement of the section. The team made significant engineering improvements to the barrier and particularly to the vertical strength that is critical for dealing with seagrass accumulation. 

In all, this is seen as a very positive experience in the trial of the Aquarius Barrier technology as it has allowed us to make the necessary improvements to account for all environmental variables. We expect all future Aquarius Barriers will feature these design improvements, including the Aquarius Barrier planned for Lennox Head. 

Seagrass Images:

3 ft wall of seagrass accumulated on Middleton Beach following strong easterly storm. 
Seagrass accumulation near beach tangling and tearing barrier.
Underwater view of rolling seagrass against barrier in deep water.

Aquarius Barrier Installed at Ellen Cove, Middleton Beach in Albany

The Aquarius Barrier was successfully installed at Ellen Cove in Albany. The installation process was generally smooth and well planned; the only hurdles we encountered were environmental factors such as a shark attack on a pygmy whale and poor weather conditions. After successfully tendering for the contract in December last year, we managed to complete the installation 3 weeks ahead of our anticipated schedule. 

The installation team began with the blocks, chains and anchors last Monday and after installing all the permanent infrastructure we had to finish off the process by connecting the barrier to the ground chains. The Aquarius Barrier is delivered pre-assembled to site which significantly reduces the amount of time spent assembling on the beach and minimises the disruption to the local community. The last part of the installation, connecting the barrier to the ground chain, turned out to be the most difficult part of the process as we had to wait for a period of good weather so that the installation dive team could safely work in the swell. 

We produced a short video that outlines the installation process: