Australian Beaches Are Introducing Shark-Detecting Drones

http://www.iflscience.com/sites/www.iflscience.com/files/styles/ifls_large/public/blog/%5Bnid%5D/11586749304_38fb2b4ebc_z.jpg?itok=odLYzI5c
http://www.scienceofwonder.org/australian-beaches-are-introducing-shark-detecting-drones/

The government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has released a high-tech $16 million (US$11.6 million, 7.55 million) plan to address this year’s flurry of shark attacks.

Last year, there were three shark attacks leading to two fatalities in NSW. Even before the beach holiday season in December, this year has already seen 13 attacks,including the death of41-year-old surferTadashi Nakahara.

To tackle the issue, the NSW government is launching a wide range of newly developed shark mitigation technologies. They will spend$7.7 million (US $5.6 million, 3.6 million) of the total fundon surveillance and deterrence, while another $7 million (US $5.1 million, 3.3 million) is being allocated to scientific research on sharks and tagging.

A good chunk of money$3.5 million (US $2.55 million, 1.65 million)will go towardsahelicopter surveillance program. New technology to alert citizens ofshark sightings is also being invested in, with a $1.3 million injection into the SharkSmart app. Five Clever Buoy systems will also be deployed,which usesonar signals to spot sharks. The tagging of sharks will allow real-time 4G tracking with the help of 10 listening stations between Tweeds Head and Forster.

Starting this December, when the beaches are at their busiest, shark-detecting drones will also be deployedover the beaches. This follows on fromCalifornia using dronesthis summer to deter shark attacks.

Along with this surveillance technology, six sites will trial eco-friendly barrier nets.

According toThe Sydney Morning Herald, Minister for Primary IndustriesNiall Blairsaid: We are proud to be the first jurisdiction anywhere in the world to adopt an integrated approach toward keeping our beaches safe.

However, environmentalistshave been skeptical of the new plan. Last monthat asharksummit in NSW, Associate Professor Daryl McPhee said, Theres a lot of impressive YouTube videos that shows various devices being able to deter a shark but as a scientist thats not a scientifically definitive approach. No matter whats used, it will not be 100% effective. Other experts suggested the government shouldnt placate to peoples fear.

Image credit:Lee/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Source: Array

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