Group promotes alternative for keeping Australia’s beaches safe from sharks

CCTV News

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After shark attacks increased in in several Australian beaches in 2015, the island continent turned to drone technology, buoys, and sonar to detect the creatures before they enter waters on popular beaches.

But a South African group says they have a cheaper, and more effective, solution to spotting sharks. CCTV’s Greg Navarro reports.

Group promotes alternative for keeping Australia\'s beaches safe from sharks

Group promotes alternative for keeping Australia\'s beaches safe from sharks

After shark attacks increased in in several Australian beaches in 2015, the island continent turned to drone technology, buoys, and sonar to detect the creatures before they enter waters on popular beaches. But a South African group says they have a cheaper, and more effective, solution to spotting sharks. CCTV's Greg Navarro reports.

The increase in attacks prompted the state of New South Wales to launch its own multi-million dollar shark mitigation plan. But a group of South African nationals says there’s an alternative — a shark spotting program that’s much safer and cheaper. CCTV’s Greg Navarro has the story.

Keeping people safe in the water has become an urgent task following two deaths and more than a dozen shark attacks in New South Wales last year.

That increased calls for culling sharks, and prompted environmental groups to push for a more humane approach.

The state responded by launching a more than $12 million technology-based approach aimed at better detecting sharks.

That includes buoys that rely on sonar, eco-friendly barriers designed to keep sharks out of swimming areas, and shark tagging.

Unmanned aerial drones are also being tested along select beaches.

“The drones may or may not be effective – that’s being assessed but that’s also part of instilling public confidence,” Professor Rob Harcourt of Macquarie University said. “People are much more likely to swim in a place where they know if a shark comes in they’ll be warned about it and they can get out.”

Marine biologists say the best way to address a problem is to first understand why it’s happening.

But they don’t know why shark attacks increased dramatically last year – or why there has only been one recorded so far this year.

Scientists said most shark attacks happen close to the water’s edge, in fact within 100 meters of the shore line.”

Shark spotters say they’ve identified more than a dozen Australian beaches where the concept would work, but so far no governments have committed to the program.