Australian coast gets Shark drones on patrol
Melbourne : The New South Wales (NSW) government brought in a relief news for beach lovers of Australia and gave them a glimpse of safety and protection, a much wanted feeling, ever since Ballina’s Shelly Beach on the far north coast of NSW was closed after Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara, 41, died following a shark attack in February.
According to NSW government, the beachgoers will be protected from sharks by drones and ‘smart’ drum lines. To initiate this schedule, a trial would begin on the NSW north coast using these drones which would get functional in areas which have been declared unsafe zones, the places where there have been several attacks in the past 12 months. The drones will feed images back to operators looking for sharks using GPS co-ordinates. Additionally, a shark management strategy has also been put in place. The safety measure of patrolling by drones is part of a shark management strategy which also includes barriers and helicopter surveillance.
NSW Minister for primary industries Niall Blair issued a statement and said, ‘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 a long term-term solution to keep our beaches safe.’
A field test of drones will begin at Coffs Harbour and a ‘smart’ drum line would be tested at Ballina, the same spot which caused fatality to the Japanese surfer earlier in February. The ‘smart drum’ lines work in such a way that, whenever the predator shark comes into vicinity, these lines alert officials immediately when a shark has been snagged on a baited hook, unlike traditional lines that are checked intermittently. Minister Blair said the new technique drones were more humane as compared to the earlier track lines which were used to catch sharks in other states such as Western Australia and Queensland.
These safety drone measures and patrol for shark attacks came after a ‘shark summit’ was held by the state government at which experts presented various methods to prevent attacks.The state Labor opposition’s shadow primary industries minster Mick Veitch said more details were needed about the trials, saying, ‘This almost seems to have been plucked from the sky, the trial’, and hoped that the results would convert into real-time safety procedure soon.