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Researchers test shark detection sonar technology in Australia

The buoys are designed to detect the patterns of encroaching sharks and send a signal to warn lifeguards.

By
Brooks Hays
Researchers are deploying a buoy outfitted with sonar and video cameras to detect sharks in an effort to better mitigate attack at popular Australian beaches. Photo by UTS
Researchers are deploying a buoy outfitted with sonar and video cameras to detect sharks in an effort to better mitigate attack at popular Australian beaches. Photo by UTS

SYDNEY, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Researchers in New South Wales are partnering with the government to monitor shark activity near popular beaches.

Their management plan includes a number of monitoring technologies, including aerial and drone surveillance, as well as shark tagging and tracking.

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Most recently, scientists with the University of Technology, Sydney put their Clever Buoys to the test -- outfitted with shark-detecting sonar technology.

"The Clever Buoy technology can help us manage and mitigate the risk of shark bites on the NSW coast," Niall Blair, the New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries, said in a news release.

The buoys are designed to detect the patterns of encroaching sharks and send a signal to warn lifeguards. The latest prototype features stereo video cameras to verify the buoy's warnings.

The buoys will also be able to identify tagged sharks, and can provide information about which sharks are visiting most frequently.

"This collaborative research will rigorously and independently test the capabilities of the Clever Buoy system to detect sharks under real-world conditions off an ocean beach," said William Gladstone, a marine biologist at UTS.

An apparent uptick in shark attacks in recent years -- and the fear of disappearing tourist industry revenues -- have inspired Australia's government to take action. Large scale shark culling efforts in 2014 were met with protests around the world.

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The latest efforts to mitigate shark attacks are decidedly less controversial.

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