New clever buoys ‘the holy grail’ of shark defence
"CLEVER" shark-detecting buoys have been installed off Sydney's Bondi Beach ahead of a possible roll-out across the North and Mid North Coasts.
The developers of the sonar-driven technology said the buoys were specially tuned to recognise shark-sized objects within a 300m radius in coastal waters.
Crews spent about three hours installing the floating shark detectors off the Bondi shoreline ahead of a month-long trial.
"The Clever Buoy identifies large swimming objects, like sharks, and sends real-time valuable information to lifeguards on the beach (via a mobile phone app)," Richard Talmage of Shark Mitigation Systems said.
"The unit will be deployed approximately 500m offshore and will be trialled for an extended period to further test and confirm the system's capabilities and information flow to Bondi lifeguards for dangerous sharks."
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said sonar technology was the New South Wales Government's best weapon against the rise of shark attacks on public beaches.
"When it comes to detecting sharks, sonar technology is the Holy Grail and the NSW Government is determined to do what it can to support getting new technologies, like Clever Buoy, off the ground," he said.
"This is a pre-commercial trial of new technology to detect sharks in Sydney.
"The testing of this sonar technology is a critically important part of the NSW Government's $16 million Shark Management Strategy to reduce the risk of shark attacks on the state's beaches."
The buoys will be installed along the state's coast if the trials prove successful.
The roll-out of 4G listening stations on the North and Mid North Coasts will begin this week at Coffs Harbour, Yamba and South West Rocks, Lennox Head, Kingscliff, Evans Head, Port Macquarie and Forster.
Two of the stations - satellite receivers that track the movements of tagged sharks - are already operating off Sharpes and Lighthouse beaches near Ballina.
An extra 10 will be deployed south of Forster at a later date.
There were 14 unprovoked shark attacks in NSW last year, one of which killed surfer Tadashi Nakahara off the coast of Ballina in February.
That compared to just three attacks in each of the previous two years. -APN NEWSDESK