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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

How to spot sharks before they spot you

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Recently on television there was a series of programs on preventing attacks on humans by predators. The three animals featured were crocodiles, polar bears and great white sharks. None of the solutions in relation to great white sharks seemed to be very effective and it occurred to me that it might be possible to use radar as a shark protection device.

One of the reasons fish stocks are so depleted in the ocean is that trawlers use radar to locate schools of fish in order to net them more effectively. If a radar device were attached to a buoy out to sea it could be connected to a computer programmed to recognise large fish which could automatically activate a siren or some other warning device without the need for human intervention. Because dolphins and sharks move differently – dolphins undulate, sharks glide – it should also be possible to create a program that could distinguish between sharks and cetaceans.

Drones have been suggested as a possible solution. The limitation of drones is that they would need to travel along a beach and if a shark happened to be in deep water at the time it passed over it may not be spotted.

The advantage of radar attached to a buoy is that it would be permanent and have a much greater reach than a visual system and it would still operate in murky waters. A similar system could be used for both sharks and crocodiles in the far north.

David Gilet, Byron Bay



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