A SHARK-SPOTTING SURVEILLANCE DRONE will now be implemented and used to boost beach patrols in Western Australia’s South West.
The drones will be used for a three-month trial, set to start next month.
The $88,000 trial is part of the Government’s shark mitigation strategy, according to Fisheries Minister Joe Francis. It would allow Surf Life Saving WA to purchase and operate drones along the Perth Metropolitan coast and South West coast.
Since 2015, statistics show that a total of 48 shark attack cases have been record across Australia, according to the Taronga Australian Shark Attack Annual Report Summary. Out of those 48 reported cases 4 were fatal and 31 were injured.
The drone will be equipped with high definition cameras which will stream live vision back to surf lifesaving staff. This will eliminate the delay of a shark that has been spotted.
“Drone technology has advanced significantly in recent years and it makes sense to test if it can be used effectively to make our beaches safer,” Mr Francis said.
“It’s important any responsible government adopt evolving technologies to help keep people safe.”
“It will be flown in different areas over different events over the next three months and we will assess the successfulness of that.”
The drones would send images in real time which would be monitored. Beaches would then be alerted if sharks were present, according to Mr Francis.
SLSWA Lifesaving services manager Peter Scott said the drones would add another layer of shark protection strategies. This includes beach and helicopter patrols.
“We know there’s not one single thing that mitigates totally against sharks, it’s a broad range of strategies,” Mr Scott said.
The idrone is predicted to be used at surf carnivals and other community events at local beaches from November to January 2017.
“Future funding for the program would depend on the result of the trial,” said Mr Francis.
Shark-spotting drones are also being trialled in New South Wales.