A Perth teen who was tragically killed by a shark in the Swan River over the weekend was previously praised for her plan to protect swimmers from sea predators.
Stella Berry, 16, suffered serious injuries after being mauled by a suspected bull shark while swimming with friends near the traffic bridge in North Fremantle on Saturday afternoon.
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Despite the desperate efforts of witnesses on shore and paramedics called, Stella could not be rescued.
It has since been revealed that Stella had impressed in 2017 with her design for a shark-free ocean pool at popular Cotteloe Beach.
The student from St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls and a classmate, then in 5th grade, submitted the submission after being asked to solve a local technical problem.
Their design let in small fish but ensured larger predators, including sharks, were kept out.
“I’m very impressed that girls are studying engineering at such a young age,” former Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins told Western Suburbs Weekly at the time.
“They’ve addressed safety issues, accessibility issues and social issues — and they’ve done it so creatively.”
The article was accompanied by a picture of Mayor Stella, her classmate and her model.
A sea pool on the beach was being considered at the time and the site the couple had chosen was thought to be “quite possible” should it go ahead.
Stella was pulled from the water around 3.45pm on Saturday and suffered massive blood loss after being attacked in the Swan River. Her death was the first fatal shark attack on the river in 100 years.
A tribute was paid to the popular and talented teenager, with her devastated parents Sophie and Matt Berry releasing a statement and pictures of their “vibrant and happy baby girl”.
“We are devastated and deeply shocked by the loss of our beautiful daughter Stella,” the statement said.
“Stella was a vibrant and happy girl with plans to live in Europe after school. She was a caring person and a dear friend to many at various schools in the area.”
The statement also opened up about Stella’s passions and love for water.
“Stella loved creating art and spending time with her friends, especially by the river and the beach. She had her skipper’s ticket and often took friends surfing on the river,” the statement said.
“She was a beautiful and loving big sister and the best daughter we could have asked for.”
Meanwhile, the city of Fremantle has reopened the stretch of riverbank where Stella was fatally abused.
The growing number of on-site tributes is a reminder of Saturday’s tragedy and the impact of her life.
On Monday, her principal at Shenton College published a tribute to a student whose “light shone on so many people.”
“Stella, like her name, was a star. She shone light into the lives of others and had a lasting positive impact on everyone she touched,” said the educator.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was a “very sad event” and that authorities were evaluating options to prevent another tragedy.
Shark nets, increased tagging and a shark barrier such as that being considered for Bicton Baths are under consideration.
WA Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said “everything is on the table”.
Scientific tests will determine what type of shark attacked. The most common in the Swan River and the one suspected of attacking Stella is the bull shark.
“They inhabit bodies of water in close proximity to us, and that water tends to be dirty, so we may actually be more likely to interact with the shark than any other species because they live in our backyards,” says marine expert dr. Called Johan Gustafson.
Elsewhere, a decomposing whale carcass has closed a beach in WA’s Great Southern.
A shark alert was issued on Monday after a whale carcass was reported around 9.20am on Reef Beach near Bremer Bay.
“It is possible that the decomposing carcass is acting as an attractant that could cause sharks to come close to shore along this stretch of coast,” authorities said.
https://7news.com.au/news/sharks/perth-teen-fatally-mauled-once-offered-plan-to-keep-swimmers-safe-from-sharks-c-9668675 Stella Berry, a victim of a shark attack in WA, once designed a shark-free ocean pool for Perth Council