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Sharks drones to patrol Australian waters

The new initiatives — enacted due to a recent rise in shark attacks — will be trialed for a 12-month period. According to The Guardian, there have been 13 attacks, including one death, in the area this year. In all, there have been 33 unprovoked shark attacks in Australian waters this year. An “unprovoked” encounter between a human and a shark is “defined as an incident where a shark is in its natural habitat and has made a determined attempt to bite a human without any human provocation,” according to Taronga, the Conservation Society for Australia

Whether this represents a significant increase is open to question; nevertheless, the concentration of the attacks and reporting of the incidents has created an air of unease and officials are keen to keep beach visitor numbers high. The most recent attack was on November 11. Here, a man called Sam Morgan sustained serious wounds to his left thigh after he was bitten by a shark while surfing off Lighthouse Beach.

As part of various safety measures, drones will be used. According to the BBC, the drones will transmit images to operators looking for sharks, and tally these with GPS co-ordinates. The use of drones will be undertaken alongside barriers and helicopter surveillance.

Speaking about these initiatives with Sky News, NSW minister for primary industries Niall Blair stated: “There is no easy way to reduce risks for swimmers and surfers.” However, he added: “We are delivering on a commitment to test the best science available, including new technologies, as we try to find a long term-term solution to keep our beaches safe.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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