The world's first electromagnetic shark curtain is being installed at the Busselton Jetty today, 1.7 kilometres out to sea.
'The Deep Sea Pool' will officially open next week towards the end of the heritage listed Busselton Jetty.
Busselton Jetty chief executive officer Lisa Shreeve said the Deep Sea Pool would feature a virtual shark net creating a protected diving area for swimmers, snorkellers, divers and helmet walkers to witness the unique marine life under the Busselton Jetty.
Busselton Jetty marine scientist Sophie Teede said 300 different species of marine life lived under the jetty due to the Leeuwin Current and the shade and protection the jetty structure provided.
"We are keen to share our wonderful marine environment with tourists and visitors from all over Australia and internationally," she said.
"Many visitors want to immerse themselves in the colourful underwater world however often a fear of sharks prevents them from enjoying the ocean."
Over the next few weeks a pontoon, swim net and other facilities will be added to the area for the official launch just before Christmas.
Dive Busselton Jetty has been chosen as the operator of swim, dive and snorkel tours and will also be operating Underwater Helmet Walks in the protected area.
The electromagnetic shark curtain is powered by the same proven Shark Shield Technology which is subsidised by the WA State Government for surfing and diving.
It is not harmful to marine life and does not include plastic barriers.
How is the Ocean Guardian Marine Safety Zone different to a shark net?
The Marine Safety Zone uses antennas which produce an electrical pulse.
These drop length antennas are attached to a floating surface line which are weighted at each end to the seafloor; they are spaced three metres apart which allows non-dangerous marine life to pass through the area.
This design is different to a shark net, which uses small holed netting to enclose a specified area and has known issues of marine life entanglement.
How does the Ocean Guardian Shark Shield Technology work?
All sharks have electrical receptors called 'ampullae of Lorenzini' which are used to detect electrical sensitivities in their prey.
Shark Shield Technology incorporates submersible electrodes which produce electrical fields when submerged, creating a temporary spasm sensation causing the shark to move away.
This sensation can be likened to being near loudspeakers at a concert.
All other marine animals (fish, mammals and birds) do not have electrical receptors and are not susceptible to an electrical field in the water.
Does the Ocean Guardian Shark Shield Technology work?
Yes. The effectiveness of Ocean Guardian technologies is supported by a body of independent research and has been thoroughly tested.
Will the Marine Safety Zone be impacted by ocean conditions?
No. Comprehensive design minimises the negative impacts of sustained ocean conditions on the barrier installation.
The barrier will be installed in spring and removed in winter to avoid breakdown of the barrier in a storm event.
Will the location of the Marine Safety Zone affect recreational activities at the Busselton Jetty?
The location of the Marine Safety Zone at Busselton Jetty will provide a safe and visible area for local and visiting swimmers, snorkellers and divers.
Currently no designated area exists at the main Jetty.
Having a roped off area will protect snorkelers, divers, swimmers in the water from all boats and jet skis.
The Marine Safety Zone will be accessible from the Access Platform to approximately 20 metres before the Underwater Observatory.
The enclosed area will extend to underneath the Jetty and adjacent area on the eastern side. It will be similar in size to an Olympic swimming pool.
Fishing will not be permitted within the designated swimming area.
The remaining 1.6km of the Busselton Jetty will continue to be open for recreational fishing.