Rotorwing Helicopter Services spotted a 3m plus great white shark in close proximity to surfers off Boulder Beach in Ballina. Photo Contributed
Rotorwing Helicopter Services spotted a 3m plus great white shark in close proximity to surfers off Boulder Beach in Ballina. Photo Contributed Contributed

New shark detection technology ready for summer

MONDAY 11.30am: A NEW shark detection prototype, designed to set off an alarm in the presence of large animals may be ready in time for summer, according to Byron Bay inventor Ric Richardson.

Mr Richardson began trialling shark sonar systems in 2015 and after several unsuccessful prototypes, Mr Richardson told The Sunday Telegraph his 'Safe Waters' technology will work and believes it's the "most promising solution".

The system is designed to sit one metre below the water's surface and can detect animals 2-4m in size.
Detection within 80 metres will send up a floating alarm that flashes orange and sets off a siren.

"When it is within 35 metres it turns red and when it leaves it turns green and then sinks again," Mr Richardson told The Sunday Telegraph.
Mr Richardson estimates each system will cost $15,000 and said in coming months he would submit the sonar system to the DPI for testing.

Currently the only protection for ocean goers is aerial surveillance and the DPI's SMART drumlines tagging program.


MONDAY 10.10am: BYRON Bay will see an additional 10 SMART drumlines deployed after being proven five times more effective than nets.

In a bid to further protect beach goers from the risk of shark attack, 50 SMART drumlines will be trialled along the NSW coast.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the expansion of SMART drumlines is in addition to the existing 35.

"We will now have 85 SMART drumlines on the water with another 15 to be regularly used by researchers for targeted tagging trips," Mr Blair said.

"SMART drumlines are the future of shark detection and mitigation and we are leading the world in this technology.

"SMART drumlines have proven to be five-times more effective than mesh nets on the North Coast during our six month trial earlier this year."

During the same period mesh nets caught seven targeted species while 25 SMART drumlines caught 37 sharks.

Shellharbour-Kiama, Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast and Forster will also receive ten SMART drumlines.

SMART drumlines will be deployed daily (weather permitting) - when a shark is caught the integrated communications unit sends an alert via phone, email and text to contractors and researchers who attend and if conditions permit sharks are tagged, relocated and released.

The locations for the SMART drumlines are based on historical data on shark attacks, aerial surveillance, beach-use data and consultation with relevant local councils.

White, Bull and Tiger sharks will continue to be tagged in an effort to gain a better understanding of behaviour patterns.

The tagged sharks will then be able to be tracked in real-time.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries will now call for tenders for the daily deployment and retrieval of the units up until mid-2018.