Sunday 25 September 2016

Australia employs drones to track shark movements as part of new government strategy

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 28/11/2015 | 11:43

There were 13 shark attacks to date in New South Wales in 2015, one of which resulted in a fatality.
There were 13 shark attacks to date in New South Wales in 2015, one of which resulted in a fatality.
The Government also plan to tag and release the animals so that their movements can be monitored

The Australian government have begun testing ariel drones as a means of tracking the position of sharks in the ocean in an effort to offer swimmers increased protection against the creatures.

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The drones will work by gathering and transmitting live images back to a land based operator who can then warn the public of the presence of the predators in the water.

The use of drones are just one part of the government's Aus $16 million (€10.1 million) shark strategy.

Trials were conducted at Coffs Harbour, located on the New South Wales (NSW) coast, where there were 13 shark attacks to date in 2015, one of which resulted in a fatality.

There were only three attacks in the state in 2014.

“There is no easy way to reduce risks for swimmers and surfers.

“We are delivering on a commitment to test the best science available, including new technologies, as we try to find an effective long-term solution to keep our beaches safe," NSW Minister Niall Blair said in a statement.

Blair said there are also plans to tag and release the animals so that their movements can be monitored.

Helicopter surveillance will also be carried out over popular beaches.

The NSW government have sanctioned the creation of two “listening stations” to be positioned on the north coast of the state and will provide real time tracking data of tagged sharks.

NSW is Australia's most populous state and has ruled out culling sharks despite the spike in attacks this year.

Experts say attacks are on the rise as water sports become more popular but fatalities remain rare.

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