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Major update after deadly shark attack

Ms Berry was riding a jet ski in the Swan River at Fremantle when she jumped in the water and was attacked.
Ms Berry was riding a jet ski in the Swan River at Fremantle when she jumped in the water and was attacked.

Swimmers in a section of Perth’s Swan River can feel safer, with an enclosure surrounded by shark barriers almost ready to be opened to the public.

The barriers around Bicton Baths, in the riverside suburb of Bicton, were fast-tracked by the local council and state government following the fatal mauling of Stella Berry.

The shark barrier is being installed at Bicton Baths, upriver from where 16-year-old Stella Berry was killed by a shark in February. Picture: City of Melville
The shark barrier is being installed at Bicton Baths, upriver from where 16-year-old Stella Berry was killed by a shark in February. Picture: City of Melville

The 16-year-old was killed in February just downriver from Bicton Baths, in what was the first recorded shark fatality in the Swan River in a century.

“The beach enclosure will be flexible enough to allow small marine life to pass through, but rigid enough to prevent the entry of large marine animals, such as sharks,” City of Melville said.

“Unlike netting programs used on the east coast, it is designed to be nonlethal towards marine life.

Ms Berry was riding a jet ski in the Swan River at Fremantle when she jumped in the water and was attacked.
Ms Berry was riding a jet ski in the Swan River at Fremantle when she jumped in the water and was attacked.
City of Fremantle is looking at installing a similar shark barrier at Bathers Beach, favouring that site over the area where Ms Berry was killed.
City of Fremantle is looking at installing a similar shark barrier at Bathers Beach, favouring that site over the area where Ms Berry was killed.

“Approximately 50m long and 50m wide, the enclosure will be attached to the existing jetty structure and is designed to withstand strong forces from weather, tides, currents and wave energy that is significantly higher than what is anticipated at Bicton Baths.”

The cost of the enclosure is about $300,000.

Installers have been busy this week getting the barriers set-up, with the enclosure expected to be officially opened some time next week.

The shark barrier is being installed at Bicton Baths, upriver from where 16-year-old Stella Berry was killed by a shark in February. Picture: City of Melville
Approximately 50m long and 50m wide, the enclosure will be attached to the existing jetty structure and is designed to withstand strong forces from weather, tides, currents, and wave energy. Picture: City of Melville

Cameron Wrathall was almost killed by a shark in the Swan at nearby Blackwall Reach in January 2021.

His near-fatal attack was the first recorded in 50 years.

Meanwhile, the City of Fremantle is examining installation of a similar barrier at Bathers Beach.

They backed the site at a meeting this week after a study of a few different locations, and chose Bathers Beach over the site where Stella Berry was killed.