Australia trials drone use to prevent shark attacks

New South Wales is for the first time trialling the use of drones to patrol their coast lines in an effort to prevent shark attacks. The decision comes after a perceived increase in attacks this year led to one fatality off the NSW coast, after a Japanese surfer died after having both his legs bitten off.

Drones are being used to track sharks for the first time

Drones are being used to track sharks for the first time Image by Travelbag Limited / CC BY 2.0

The drone will feed live images and GPS coordinates to an operator. The drone use is being implemented alongside a series of other measures that include the use of 'smart' drum lines, lines in the water which are used to hook sharks near the coast while sending a a signal to authorities so that they can tag and track the sharks. The lines have caused controversy since they became used on a wider scale across Australia in 2014, as animal rights campaigners believe them to be inhumane.

Niall Blair, a minister in the NSW government, spoke to Sky News: "We are delivering on a commitment to test the best science available, including new technologies, as we try to find an effective long-term solution to keep our beaches safe."

Australia has increased the protection along its coasts and introduced new anti-shark attack tactics after the loss of seven lives between 2011 and 2013, as well as a death in 2015.

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