Due to their enormous coastline, Australia has a very large beach tourism industry. Unfortunately this also corresponds with a high number of shark attacks. In New South Wales for instance there have already been 13 shark attacks this year, including with one casualty. Experts say attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular and bait fish move closer to shore, but fatalities remain rare.
A previous plan by the Western Australia state to address the issue faced much controversy. It involved catching sharks using baited hooks and drum lines. The ones with a threatening size were destroyed. More than 170 sharks were caught in a 13-week trial, with 50 of the biggest destroyed. The policy was abandoned due to the heavy negative environmental impact.
This time the state released a five-year, $11.5 million plan that not only protects swimmers, but also prevents harm to the sharks. The plan will make use of drones that provide real-time vision data and helicopter surveillance. Moreover, sonar detecting buoys will be deployed, the tagging of sharks will be boosted, and 20 stations situated at known hot spots will be set up to monitor the tagged sharks via 4G technology. The real-time information will then be available to the public on a SharkSmart mobile app. The government says they are also researching additional measures, including the use of electrical barriers powered by wave energy that omit low frequency pulsed signals to deter sharks.