Protecting Australian Swimmers from Shark Attacks the Hi-Tech Way

Some of you may remember that in January of this year we had a long weekend down on the Tweed Coast. It really is a most beautiful part of the country, here is just one of the pictures I took at the time…

Fingal HeadYou can see plenty more and watch three videos if you check out these two posts:

But the Tweed Coast and pretty much all of the northern New South Wales coastline has a particular problem. It’s these things…

shark smiling

FreeImages.com/Chatrin O Rockerz

You see, every so often one pops up to surprise the swimmers…

shark surprise

FreeImages.com/Jose Boaventura de Freitas

Shark attacks in New South Wales

So far this year there have been 13 shark attacks along the northern New South Wales coast which is a huge jump from the three that happened in all of 2014. As you can see from this graphic from Taronga Zoo, NSW has most definitely been a shark attack black spot this year…

sharkstatsYou can see more interesting statistics about shark attacks over at taronga.org.au.

I always imagined that being attacked by a shark would almost certainly be the last thing to happen to you on this planet. And I mean that quite literally; the reality is though that many many people survive shark attacks, which is great. But sharks are still a problem and over the weekend the New South Wales Government announced a $16 million program to fight back.

In what has been described as a ‘world first’, sharks will be watched from both the air and under the sea. The New South Wales Government have picked the best of the trials currently taking place around the world and consolidated them all into one location, the NSW coastline.

The plan includes:

  • Drones, fitted with cameras, flying above the seas looking for sharks
  • Selected beaches will get Eco Shark Barriers providing a completely enclosed swimming area, from seabed to surface, from shoreline to shoreline
  • Shark ‘Clever Buoys’, state of the art sonar imaging technology, will also be used in some areas and they will relay signals, in real time, to lifeguards
  • Sharks will also be tagged to monitor their movements
  • A ‘SharkSmart’ mobile phone app for users to receive real-time shark alerts

The program is set to run for five years.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said “We want to be world leaders in this area. We love going to the beach, this is about giving confidence to everyone to go to the beach.

Let’s hope they achieve everything they are setting out to achieve, and more. Yes, we do love going to the beach, and my daughter and her friends swim in it regularly. Here they are having fun in those northern New South Wales seas…

03 - Coolangatta (3)It would be great if they could be kept safe. Remember, always swim between the flags.

Finally, just in case you wanted to know.

Provoked versus unprovoked shark attack

I know I wanted to know.

I think we all know what an unprovoked shark attack is; unsuspecting human having fun in the sea, maybe on a board, hitting the surf, or just swimming. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, a shark attacks.

But what’s a provoked shark attack? I googled it and found the answer on a website called elasmo-research.org.

A provoked shark attack may be defined as any physical contact with a human by a shark that was apparently precipitated by the former cornering, pursuing, striking, grabbing, spearing, hooking, shooting, or otherwise molesting the latter.’

What kind of nutter would do that? I don’t know, but apparently we had 10 of them last year here in Australia.

Astonishing.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Snoskred October 27, 2015, 1:17 pm | Link

    I think as Australians we are mostly ok with the fact that sharks live in the ocean and therefore it is their world and not ours. Sharks and the movie JAWS is why I did not set more than a toe in the water for the first 30 years of my life. 🙂

    Drones are a good idea, I think. We have a local guy here who is always sending his drone out to sea and capturing amazing images..

    • BobinOz October 28, 2015, 12:07 am | Link

      I agree with you, I do think most Aussies think sharks have a right to live in the sea, it is our choice whether we want to go there and splash around in their environment. If we decide that that is what we want to do, then we accept the risks that go with it.

      Most Australians do not want a mass culling of sharks.

      Drones are a great idea, and all these other hi-tech approaches to combating the problem. I do believe it is the way ahead, if not, there is always the swimming pool 🙂

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