Lunedì 10 Ottobre 2016 - 10:00

Drones to be used in Australian beaches to monitor shark activities

The purpose is to take protective measures

Drones to be used in Australian beaches to monitor shark activities

Drones will be used at West Australian (WA) beaches in a three-month trial to monitor shark activity and potentially spot other dangers such as rips and schools of baitfish which attract the predators, local media reported on Monday. Under the plan, 88,000 thousand Australian dollars (66,821 thousand U.S. dollars) will be provided for four small drones equipped with a high-definition camera to stream live pictures back to Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) operators at some metropolitan and regional beaches. WA state fisheries minister Joe Francis said the trial was part of the state government's 33 million Australian dollars (25.06 million U.S. dollars) Shark Hazard Mitigation strategy. "Drone technology has advanced significantly in recent years and it makes sense to test if it can be used effectively to make our beaches safer," Francis said on Sunday. "The trial will assess whether this eye in the sky technology can add value to the beach surveillance currently provided by helicopter and beach patrols," he said. Francis said SLSWA would test the technology's capability against environmental factors, such as weather conditions and beach geography, and would be flown at beach events such as surf carnivals. The trial will run from November to January, and future funding will depend on the results. Meanwhile, the opposition has made an election promise for a 200,000 thousand Australian dollars (151,867 thousand U.S. dollars)  subsidy scheme for personal shark deterrent devices. Labor leader Mark McGowan said under the proposed trial, 1,000 devices such as Shark Shield would be available with a 200 Australian dollars (151 U.S. dollars) state government subsidy. "Allowing people to take individual protective measures, I think, has to be the future," McGowan told reporters. At present, the state government's shark strategy includes aerial and beach patrols, monitoring and tagging, beach enclosures, and research into deterrents and shark behaviour. 

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