Mandurah residents pushing for funding of new shark detection trial

A multi spectral camera system processed image of a shark that’s been detected deep below the surface.
A multi spectral camera system processed image of a shark that’s been detected deep below the surface.

MANDURAH residents are pushing for a trial of a new shark detection system that would see below the water surface, detect sharks and send a warning to swimmers or surfers in “less than one second”.

Chief technical officer of Shark Alert International Chris Mounkley, who designs and builds professional unmanned aircrafts around the globe, claimed past trials of his new system gave 100 per cent detection.

“This multi spectral camera system can detect sharks eight to ten metres deep,” he said.

“The most recent test conducted in Hawaii detected live sharks in rough conditions showing the effectiveness of detection over reef, something previously thought impossible.”

Mr Mounkley said the drone fixed cameras were linked to a microcomputer that used an algorithm to detect, in real-time, the signature of a shark in the water.

The multi spectral cameras would observe a wider stretch of coastline, four kilometres long flying at 80 kilometres an hour without being hindered by waves, glare and chop.

If a true detection was found, a warning signal would be sent to alert lifeguards who would receive the shark’s location and where it’s travelling.

Wannaup resident Rick Gerring, brother of the late Ben Gerring who was killed by a shark in 2016, said a device like the multi spectral camera system would provide “extra surveillance” on beaches.

“There’s no silver bullet when it comes to protection against sharks,” he said.

“However having extra surveillance if there was a shark around that would get people out of the water quicker, track the shark as well as open beaches sooner would be great.”

Mr Mounkley said he was in the process of developing a waterproof smart watch system that was 80 per cent complete.

Surfers would wear the smart watch and receive warnings in less than one second, even in remote locations.

“It would be fixed around your arm and if the drone detects a shark, it would fire a signal to the cellular network, the watch would be pinged and the person would be told how far the shark is from their location,” he said.

Halls Head resident Dave Schumacher said he was “pushing” to gain $1.6 million in state and federal funding to launch a 12-month trial of the multi spectral camera system along the Mandurah coastline.

“The next step is all about getting the funding and support from the government in this region,” he said.

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