Electronic shark lines to be installed along popular tourist beaches in Western Australia

SYDNEY (XINHUA) - The Australian federal government committed on Wednesday (July 4) to install 176 electronic drum lines along 260km of coastline where Western Australia (WA)'s most popular beaches are located.

The plan was made in response to concerns about shark attacks. Beachgoers and travel operators in the state have been locked in the jaws of terror over recent years, with a wave of deadly shark attacks driving down tourism numbers and bringing fear to the tight-knit coastal communities.

The installation cost is estimated to be around A$7 million (S$7.07 million).

"Deployed from Quinns Rock Beach to Mandurah in the metropolitan area and from Bunbury to Prevelly in the southwest, the SMART drumlines 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 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."

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

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

Not designed to kill sharks, SMART drumlines 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 scientific authorities who can send a team to investigate and manage the animal.

Already adopted on the east coast of Australia, SMART drumlines have been successfully trialled in the State of New South Wales with more than 200 target sharks captured over a 12 month period.