Who’s a clever buoy?

Australian developed Clever Buoy with its shark detecting technology could expand globally if research project off Port Stephens proves successful. Photo supplied by Shark Mitigation Systems
Australian developed Clever Buoy with its shark detecting technology could expand globally if research project off Port Stephens proves successful. Photo supplied by Shark Mitigation Systems

Clever Buoy, a new form of shark detecting sonar technology, will be introduced this week 1 km offshore at Hawks Nest, to assess its capability to detect juvenile white sharks in their natural conditions.

Clever Buoy is a collaborative research project with the NSW Government through the Department of Primary Industries as part of a $16 million shark management strategy.

The project follows a successful eight-week trial at Bondi earlier this year.

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Clever Buoy was developed by Shark Mitigation Systems, using sonar and sophisticated software to detect the distinctive movement patterns made by sharks and then transmit the critical information back to beach authorities.

On-board software interrogates a detected object’s swimming pattern to determine whether it is a shark and what type.
The software instantly relays a message about the shark and its location to lifeguards so they can raise an alarm.

The Clever Buoy has a VR2 receiver fitted and records information about any sharks nearby which have been previously tagged.

The research trial begins this week and hopes to determine Clever buoy’s reliability in an attempt to address the recent shark attacks on popular beaches on the North Coast.

Six video cameras will be dropped into the ocean for six weeks to monitor Clever Buoy’s sonar beam to test whether it correctly detects every shark.

“This technology continues to prove itself across many applications, and we very much look forward to further independent validation confirming Clever Buoy’s capability in detecting white sharks,” Richard Talmage, General Manager of Shark Mitigations, told Bay News Of The Area.

“We expect this collaboration to accelerate the rollout of Clever Buoy deployments globally,” Mr Talmage said.
In response to the recent attacks, the Baird government said it would deploy 100 “smart” drumlines on the North Coast and introduce legislation to allow a trial of mesh nets.

Both of these approaches have been met with public protest due to the danger to other marine life, including dolphins and turtles, so Clever Buoys could be a great alternative.

Shark Mitigation Systems was founded by Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson, both of whom are passionate ocean users who set out on a mission to better understand shark behaviour and to develop non-invasive solutions for water users to mitigate shark attacks.

By Jewell DRURY

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