Sharks in Western Australia have been fitted with transmitters that tweet their location if they swim close to popular beaches, in order to keep surfers and swimmers safe.
The unique project involved 320 sharks, and the transmitters monitor their movement up and down the western coast of Australia. If they get too close to a popular beach they trigger an alert, sent out as a tweet to people following the Surf Life Saving Western Australia's (@SLSWA Twitter feed). The tweet provides the location, size and species of the shark.
Photo of the tiger shark sighted off Trigg Beach earlier this morning by the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter. pic.twitter.com/kWmw1P10DQ— Surf Life Saving WA (@SLSWA) December 24, 2013
According to Chris Peck from SLSWA, earlier systems did not provide up-to-date information -- often a day late when the shark had long passed.
"Now it's instant information and really people don't have an excuse to say we're not getting the information, it's about whether you are searching for it and finding it," Peck told Sky News.
Western Australia is the world's deadliest place for shark attacks and authorities patrol the region using helicopters and boats, but a recent string of shark attacks prompted the project.
In a move that has angered environmentalists, Australian ministers have allowed fishermen to kill sharks measuring three meters of longer if they are found in certain zones used by swimmers and surfers. They also plan to bait and capture sharks over the summer.
"It's not going to have any positive benefit for beach goers and their safety and it’s certainly going to have a decimating effect on any great white sharks or other endangered shark species," said Ross Weir, from Western Australians for Shark Conservation.
[Sky News] [Twitter]