With 13 shark attacks this year and many of us heading to the coast for the summer, new technologies to protect beachgoers are set to undergo trial in NSW waters. Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, and Land and Waters attended last week’s Shark Summit in Sydney, bringing together the world’s top experts to address the increased shark numbers along our coast lines.
There were numerous strategies up for discussion among the 70-plus experts at the Summit, which are aimed at protecting people while having a minimal impact on the environment. Some of the strategies covered were:
- Electric deterrents - As sharks have significant sensitivity to electric currents underwater barriers can be created that release electro-magnetic shockwaves to repel sharks.
- Sonar technology - A mechanism called ‘cleverbuoys’ detect tagged sharks, then notify lifeguards through satellite, prompting beach alarms for lifeguards and swimmers.
- Aerosol cans – The cans release ‘the scent of dead sharks’ to repel other sharks from entering the area. However, this technique is believed to be only effective on certain species.
There is no single option to create safer beaches, but the combination of a number of different techniques will help in keeping our beaches protected from sharks. Prior to the Summit Niall listed making beaches safer as a top government priority, saying they were “leaving no stone unturned” in exploring new and innovative options for beach protection.