Western Australia’s world-class Shark Monitoring Network will be expanded to include three new satellite-linked shark monitoring receivers in the Geographe Bay region.
Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell said the expanding network was part of a long-term research project which will help the Department of Fisheries scientists better understand the movements of white sharks through WA waters and would also allow beach users to know if a tagged shark was near the beach.
“These satellite-linked monitors provide near real-time alerts of tagged sharks in close proximity to the receiver,” Mr Buswell said.
“When a tagged shark sets off an alert it triggers an almost instant notification to safety agencies and the location of the shark is posted online for beach users. This information not only benefits our scientists who are trying to learn more about these sharks, but also helps keep beach-goers safe.
“This information is putting the public in control of making informed decisions about when and where they should enter the water.”
When a tagged shark triggers a satellite-linked monitor, the information is simultaneously posted on the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter service.
The new receivers complement the 125 data-logging acoustic receivers, installed as three ‘curtains’ along the South-West and South Coasts last year.
One of the new South-West satellite-linked receivers has been installed off popular Meelup beach, one off Bunbury and a third will be situated at Busselton.
A further five will be deployed in locations throughout the South-West in the coming months.
“These receivers allow us a unique insight into the lives of white sharks,” Department of Fisheries principal research scientist Doctor Rory McAuley said
“This is the largest, single-purpose acoustic array in the world. We are pioneering research that has never been attempted on this scale before. The information collected from both types of receivers adds to a growing body of knowledge of tagged and untagged white sharks.”
People can go to the Department of Fisheries website to learn more about the project, and follow Surf Life Saving Twitter for the most up-to-date beach safety information.
In the past five years, 136 white sharks have been tagged in South Australia and WA. The satellite-linked receivers have an average detection range of 500m.
More than $6m in State Budget 2013-14 for initiatives including patrols, shark tagging and tracking and research projects
All shark sightings should be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600
The Beachsafe website - http://www.beachsafe.org.au - and smart phone app have details for all 3,494 WA beaches, including patrol info (where applicable), hazards, warnings, weather information, shark sightings, rescue stats, beach information and more
Minister’s office - 6552 6400