Australia to install high-tech anti-shark lines after attacks

SYDNEY • Australia's federal government yesterday committed itself to installing 176 electronic drum lines along 260km of coastline where Western Australia's (WA) most popular beaches are located.

The plan was made in response to concerns about shark attacks, which have driven down tourism numbers and brought fear to tight-knit coastal communities.

The installation cost is estimated to be around A$7 million (S$7.06 million).

"Deployed from Quinns Rocks Beach to Mandurah in the metropolitan area and from Bunbury to Prevelly in the south-west, the Smart drum lines would cover those areas where there has been 11 out of 17 fatal shark attacks in the last 25 years," said Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg.

"Given the high incidence of shark attacks in WA and the recent release of a CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) report into great white shark numbers off the west coast of Australia, now is an opportune time for the Western Australian government to take further steps to protect is citizens from shark attacks."

Back in April, organisers were forced to cancel the lucrative and world-renowned Margaret River Surf Pro event after two people were attacked by sharks at nearby beaches in separate incidents.

With pressure mounting on the authorities to sink their teeth into the problem without causing unnecessary harm to marine life, the state-of-the-art Smart drum lines offer a technology-based approach to managing the ocean's greatest predator.

Not designed to kill sharks, Smart drum lines are deployed approximately 500m offshore, beyond the surf zone. When a shark becomes hooked on the line, an electronic sensor immediately sends a text message to the scientific authorities, which can send a team to investigate and manage the animal.

Already adopted on the east coast of Australia, Smart drum lines have been successfully trialled in the state of New South Wales, with more than 200 target sharks captured over a 12-month period.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'Australia to install high-tech anti-shark lines after attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe