Tagged shark detection buoys at Mullaloo Beach to be removed

The shark detection buoys. Pictures: Kim Allen
The shark detection buoys. Pictures: Kim Allen
The shark detection buoys. Pictures: Kim Allen The shark detection buoys. Pictures: Kim Allen

TAGGED shark detection buoys at Mullaloo Beach are being removed.

Through a partnership with Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club in 2015 developed the world-first shark monitoring system that detected and warned of tagged sharks in the area.

Covering more than 1km along the main beach, the two buoys were directly connected to a radio system that received the tagged shark detection and immediately activated a warning siren and flashing light to alert beach users.

“Despite exhaustive attempts to engage commercial sponsors, government from both sides of politics and local government, no financial support has been found to maintain or expand the trial of the current system,” president Stuart Clarke said. “Mullaloo SLSC is obviously disappointed to have to decommission this innovative application of technology that enhanced the awareness and safety of beach goers at Mullaloo.

“It has been the source of some insightful acoustic detection studies conducted over the last few years.”

Mr Clarke said the club’s research collaboration with Curtin University had been “much appreciated” and their memorandum of understanding would now focus on other opportunities.

He also thanked RPS MetOcean, Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue and Think Wireless Technologies for their part in the project.

Though the Department of Fisheries’ two tagged shark detection buoys, located about 600m offshore, will remain, any detection will go directly to Surf Life Saving WA’s Twitter feed via satellite communication.

“There will be no instant siren and red light alert at Mullaloo SLSC attached to this system of tagged shark detection,” Mr Clarke said.

“We recommend swimmers and other ocean users check for shark detection alerts before entering the water and remain vigilant when assessing water conditions.”

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