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Australia Begins Using Drones to Monitor Sharks

Flickr/Joi Ito

Australia now uses drones to track and monitor shark movement to protect against attacks.

As the popularity of water sports grows and smaller fish migrate towards shallow waters, shark attacks continue to increase in frequency.

A total of 12 serious attacks including the death of a Japanese surfer have heightened awareness of the shark issue in the state.

Australia strives to fight this frequency by using drones, an aerial technology, to help keep track of sharks, their GPS coordinates, and movement patterns to better alert beach-goers. Similar technologies are used in the United States to help keep the shores safe.

New South Wales, where most of the technological trials are taking place, also plan to launch “smart” drum lines. With this technology, “after hooking a shark alert the authorities, who can then tag and release the animal,” according to Fox News.

These drum lines are an attempt to be more humane in the handling of sharks. This approach is in stark contrast to prior catch-and-kill approaches which were disbanded  after environmentalists and conservationists spoke out against them.

Niall Blair, a member of New South Wales’ government told Fox News, “They’re like a baited hook that has technology connected to it so when the bait is taken, a message is sent to our vessels and they’ll attend those lines immediately.”

Australia will also be using helicopters to look over populated beaches during peak seasons.

“There is no easy way to reduce risks for swimmers and surfers,” Blair said, “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.”

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Australia Begins Using Drones to Monitor Sharks