Great White Sharks
Great White SharkTwitter/ For a Living Planet

Researchers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australian company Shark Mitigation Systems and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will test shark detection technology at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.

DPI Fisheries deputy director general Dr Geoff Allan said the Clever Buoy was one of the technologies being trialled as part of the NSW Government's $16 million shark management strategy.

"The strategy is a scientifically-driven program encompassing some of the most advanced shark management techniques in the world," he said.

"Along with other measures such as increased aerial surveillance, drone surveillance, shark tagging and detection, and the SharkSmart app, the Clever Buoy can help us provide NSW beachgoers with as much information about shark movements as possible."

Clever Buoy, developed by Australian company Shark Mitigation Systems (SMS), uses sonar and sophisticated software to detect the distinctive movement patterns made by sharks and transmit critical information to local beach authorities.

A four-week trial ocean trial at Hawks Nest, near Port Stephens has just been completed, involving the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), ABC reported.

Head of fisheries research at DPI, Natalie Moltschaniwskyj said she was very happy with the results in the field.

"We've had very clear water and we've certainly captured [white] sharks on the Clever Buoy and on our cameras," she said

However, according to ABS, she said further analysis of the data was needed to see whether system was effective enough to warrant widespread use in NSW, alongside other systems like "smart" drumlines, GPS tagging and drones.

"We need to support that with research to make certain we make the best decisions about the technology we're putting on our beaches," she said.

The trials have moved to the controlled environment of Sydney's Sea Life Aquarium, to assess the system's ability to detect different types of sharks, including the grey nurse.

UTS Professor Bill Gladstone told ABC he hoped the technology could be refined, so that swimmers are warned only about threatening species, not harmless sharks.

"The shark nets do catch other species, which does have an impact on the marine ecosystem, so we're hoping advances in technology will lead to ways that we can mitigate that risk," he said.

The NSW Government already uses shark nets on 51 beaches between the Illawarra and Hunter and recently announced a new netting program on the far north coast, following a series of attacks.

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