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February 27, 2021

Siren equipped shark spotting drones trial starts Saturday

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Shark-spotting programs are proving much more effective for beach safety than lethal drum lines and nets which are destructive to the marine environment.
Shark-spotting programs are proving much more effective for beach safety than lethal drum lines and nets which are destructive to the marine environment.

A trial of new siren equipped shark spotting drones by the Department of Primary Industries that starts tomorrow (Saturday July 1) has been extended to include Byron Bay.

The fifth DPI drone trial, this is the first time the unmanned aerial vehicles will hover along the Byron coastline as part of the NSW Shark Management Strategy.

And if you hear the screeching noise of a loud siren, get out of the water quickly, as this is the first time the drones will be equipped with this real time warning system.

Pilots will view the high definition video footage and can activate the siren, alerting swimmers, surfers and life savers, simultaneously.

The ear-piercing sirens, only used to alert surfers and swimmers if a dangerous shark is nearby or a situation is dangerous, are designed to save lives.

The drones will operate every day during the upcoming school holidays, weather permitting.

Operators will fly drones over Evans Head, Ballina, Lennox Head and Byron Bay beaches capturing real time footage.

Part of the trial will focus on gathering footage that can be used with algorithms to develop software that automatically identifies shark species.

Drones and helicopters spotted more than 571 dangerous sharks last summer.

Until July 16, DPI contracted helicopter pilots will work with drone operators during the trial.


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  1. Wow – how long did that take – to get them to realise that drones are the ONLY way!! The other stuff they trialled was a waste of our tax payers money!!

    I sat on thse DPI hosted meetings and repeatedly told them that the nets, tagging, monitors ,etc was such a waste of money and our time.

    So government!!!


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