Is Clever Buoy smart enough to spot the sharks?
In light of the recent shark attacks off the North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, shark-detecting sonar equipment has been set up at a great white shark nursery off Port Stephens to test a new shark-detection system.
Called Clever Buoy, it is a breakthrough near-shore shark detection and warning system designed to be deployed at beaches that have experienced a number of shark attacks. It uses sonar technology to detect the shark's distinctive movement patterns and then notify the relevant authorities via SMS messages. Last summer, it had undergone a trial at Bondi Beach which proved to be promising.
During the current trial off Port Stephens, the equipment is being assessed on its reliability to detect sharks. To do this, six video cameras have been dropped into the waters to find out whether the Clever Buoy is able to detect every single shark that swims past, and also whether the creature identified is indeed a shark (or just a big fish).
“If it works effectively and reliably, you could deploy a number of them to cover the beach entrance with sonar beam. The message would go back to the lifeguards if a shark enters, and they would decide what do to,” said Professor William Gladstone from University of Technology, Sydney. “The buoys could be a much better solution than killing the sharks with Drum-Lines or Shark Nets.”
A separate trial of the Clevel Buoy will be conducted at Sydney Aquarium to determine whether it can distinguish between different shark species, based on their swimming patterns and movement.