Drones and “smart” drum lines are to be trialled in Australia in an effort to prevent shark attacks and bites.
Drum lines are large barrels or buoys attached with baited fishing used in an attempt to catch sharks.
The smart drum lines are equipped with sensors which are designed to send signals when a fish is caught. Once alerted a team will travel to the lines. If a shark is caught, it will be acoustically tagged and released away from the area.
Regular drum lines were used in 2014 with limited success. A total of 172 sharks were caught.
50 sharks over the length of 9 ft were shot, 14 sharks under 9ft were found dead, 4 were considered too sick and killed and 104 were released. Though some were found to have died shortly after being released. None of the sharks targeted were great whites.
Drum lines have another issue besides catching whatever happens to bite the bait on the line…they attract sharks. Sharks may actually move in search of the bait, resulting in an increase of the number of sharks in the area.
Drones will also be used as shark spotters. The drones will be flown overhead to locate sharks visible through the waters surface. Once a shark is spotted, safety crews can determine whether or not to clear the water. The use of drones will be much cheaper than using helicopters as shark spotters. The drones will be tried at Coffs Harbour on Wednesday.
The recent shark bites in the area have led to a major downturn for local water related bushiness. Surf shops and resorts are reporting fewer customers as they fear an attack.
Marine biologist Daniel Burcher suggests surfers purchase SharkbBanz, Shark Shields or other shark deterrents. Most of these devices utilize an electric or magnetic field that interferes with the shark senses, causing irritation to the fish and making an interaction less likely.