Sharks stopped evolving about 20 million years ago – now technology is catching up to them.
In the quest to keep beach swimmers safe, Far South Coast Surf Life Saving branches have been given drones – and duty officer at Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club, Ken Bellette, couldn’t be happier.
“It’s a fantastic machine,” he said.
“We did a two-day training course on how to operate the drones and recognise shark species and size.
“We were also taught how to do a search, and program it to go out and back. They have an eight-kilometre range.”
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Mr Bellette said the drones made a “huge” difference to the club.
“In terms of search and rescue, we can take it right into the rocks,” he said.
“It saves so much time, and improves safety. They’re capable of sending a live feed to Surf Life Saving Australia and the police.”
There are other options for managing sharks in the area, such as SMART drumlines.
It’s a fantastic machineKen Bellette
Bega MP Andrew Constance said the drumlines would not be installed without community support.
“That’s an option,” he said.
“We ran some surveys in the Bega Valley, they weren’t keen on having the drumlines in.
“The baited drumline sends a signal the moment a shark is caught, a paid contractor goes out, tags the shark, takes it further out to sea and allows it to swim off.
“You don’t have the indiscriminate killing of marine life like you do with nets, but once the sharks tagged, we have a better ability to sense when it’s close by.
“A number of years ago we put a smart buoy off Malua Bay, which sends a signal when a tagged shark is in the vicinity.”
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Mr Constance said the best way to stay safe in the water was to be wise to the risks.
“People need to be aware of the dangers,” he said.
“Early mornings and late evenings are not an ideal time to be in the water, particularly when aerial patrols are picking up a lot of sharks.
“We need to be vigilant and work with the authorities, (so) no one gets hurt.
“Ultimately, we’re entering their domain, and we have to be mindful and respectful of that.”