Texts to stop shark attacks idea comes to surface
A SUNSHINE Coast marine expert believes new shark-detection technology could hold the key to taking nets out of the ocean, saving surfers, swimmers and sharks.
Nets and drum lines could be replaced with text messages to life guards when a large shark comes on the radar, through Australian invention Clever Buoy.
The prototype, unveiled late last month, is tipped to revolutionise shark detection using sonar technology. The Clever Buoy can detect large sharks, and send real-time information to lifeguards via the Google+ circles, using the Optus Network and smartphones.
The idea is to create networks of buoys as an unbroken detection perimeter, with each buoy picking up sharks up to 60m away.
Optus partnered with Perth company Shark Mitigation Systems to test the buoys in Sydney Aquarium, and then off Western Australia.
Sunshine Coast diving instructor and passionate shark advocate Tony Isaacson said our beaches were the perfect candidate for Clever Buoy testing.
He believes it is time new technology is embraced and nets are taken out of the water.
Clever Buoy could be ready for beaches as early as mid next year.
Mr Isaacson led the Paddle Out for Sharks protest at Mooloolaba Beach on Sunday to highlight the damage shark nets have on not only sharks, but other species including turtles and dugongs.
"There's technology emerging that we can get right behind and, ultimately, we can transfer the technologies that are killing our wildlife and replace them with technology that can count, record and mange sharks, much better than what we are doing now," Mr Isaacson said. "We need to start to wind down our dependence on the false sense of security we are getting from nets in 10m of water covering only the top 2m."
Eleven shark nets and 60 drum lines are in waters along the Coast.
Last year 43 sharks were caught in the nets off the Sunshine Coast, 30 were over 2m long and considered dangerous to humans. Only four of the 43 shark caught were released alive.
Coast commercial fisherman and former Queensland Seafood Industry Association Committee chairman Bill Gilliland said he was all for the technology if it improved safety for swimmers.
"Shark nets are obviously doing their job, and governments fight hard to keep them in the water, but if there is something out there better than nets, I'm all for it," Mr Gilliland said.
In a promo video, Shark Mitigation Services co-founder Hamish Jolly said Clever Buoy could be the biggest advance in shark detection ever made. The technology is modelled on software used in offshore oil mining rigs.
How it works
The Clever Buoy uses new sonar technology to detect shark-sized objects in coastal waters. The sonar looks for large shark-sized objects that are swimming.
When detection is made by the Clever Buoy, an alert will be sent to lifeguards using Google+ circles, via the Optus Network.