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article imageAustralia: Drones and sonar technology to ward shark attacks

By Abdul Kuddus     Oct 25, 2015 in Technology
New South Wales - In an attempt to protect people from shark attacks, the Australian state of New South Wales is designing smarter technologies such as aerial surveillance, drones, and early warning systems to keep sharks and swimmers apart.
Reportedly this is the “single largest global trial of technologies designed to keep sharks and swimmers apart.”
The plan is to track, trap, and tag sharks real-time without harming them and release them out at sea. Further, beaches will be installed with “listening stations” and eco-friendly nets. The listening stations will share real-time data on tagged sharks.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the plan “will test next-generation shark defense technology from this summer and extend over five years, will set aside A$7.7 million for trials of new technologies and aerial and coastal surveillance.”
The Guardian reported:
The SharkSmart app will be updated so people can receive real-time warnings on their smartphones and tablets when sharks are spotted in the area.
The initiative gained prominence following a series of attacks on beachgoers and swimmers.
Reportedly Australia had the highest occurrence of shark bites and attacks in the world. A total of 13 attacks happened in New South Wales (NSW) in 2015, one of which was fatal.
Swimmers and surfers have reported sharks in waist-deep water. Some even saw them in the breakers.
Following concerns that people are afraid to go into the water, there was a need to bring back the confidence of swimmers and surfers. The other concern was the controversial catch-and-kill plan using baited hooks and drum lines. These methods were shelved following protests from animal activists.
All the concerns prompted the shark summit at Taronga Zoo, Sydney in September. It was agreed in the summit that simply putting devices into the water to placate people’s fears without these being foolproof would not work. Instead devices that actually detect or prevent sharks from potential harm to people should be experimented.
The new technologies to be tested materialized following advice from experts at the shark summit and community consultation.
More about shark attacks, Australia, New South Wales, Shark Summit, Drones and sharks
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