How preventative technology can stop death



Over the last 50 days, there have been five serious shark attacks on the east coast of Australia, one deadly.

In September, Tasmanian mother Justine Barwick and 12-year-old Victoria Hannah Papps were attacked in separate incidents on the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland.

A month later, the shark closed at the shoulder of a worker from the nude beach of New South Wales north of Newcastle, which led to his admission to the hospital.

Last Monday, Daniel Christidis, a 33-year-old Victorian urologist, was shot by a shark at Cid Harbor in Whitsundays on the first day of yachting holidays. The attack did not survive.

Three days later, another surfer sharked from his deck on the far north NSW coast and left him on his calf 20 cm.

The increase in incidents has sparked an urgent meeting between the various levels of government in Queensland, tourism representatives and naval experts to try to resolve how best to prevent swimmers from being furious in the future.

In September, 12-year-old Hannah Papps was also attacked by a shark in a similar Whitsundays location as Mrs. Barwick.
In September, 12-year-old Hannah Papps was also attacked by a shark in a similar Whitsundays location as Mrs. Barwick. (Instagram / @ elliecoleswim)
Last month, a mining worker had a rescue shark on his nose from NSW beach.
Last month, a mining worker had a rescue shark on his nose from NSW beach. (9news)
(9News)

The interviews cover everything from decommissioning to better training for tourists and the possible use of the world's first technology to replace shark nets and drum lines.

Just by letting beach people and authorities wondering why sharks behave the way they do and what Australia can do to prevent more deaths.

There is no real answer yet.

"I think scientists do not really have a response right now, unfortunately, that's what people have lost," said Perth's biologist Amanda Elizabeth at 9News.com.au.

Daniel Christidis died this week as a result of another Whitsundays shark attack.
Daniel Christidis died this week as a result of another Whitsundays shark attack. (9news)

"There could be a number of reasons and scientists need to be able to get (water near recent attacks) and look.

"It could be a matter of rising rainfall or water temperature or fish baits in the area."

Despite this, Mrs. Elizabeth stated that there are behavioral features of sharks involved in attacks that could provide some insight into these attacks.

Just days after Mr Christidis' death, a local surfer was dragged out of the shark ship to another NSW beach that left him wounded in his leg.
Just days after Mr Christidis' death, a local surfer was dragged out of the shark ship to another NSW beach that left him wounded in his leg. (Nine)
Lee Jonsson told 9News that he had used his surfboard to kill a shark before he paid for the shore and took to the hospital.
Lee Jonsson told 9News that he had used his surfboard to kill a shark before he paid for the shore and took to the hospital. (AAP)

"Especially with Velky Bellovec, they are going through the transition period, when they are young, they feed fish, and when they reach the age of adults, they go to mammalian mammals," she said.

"Are they going through what's in their diet now? It's just a matter of trying, and when they try, it's with their teeth – It can be pretty awful for people.

"We know that in Cid Harbor they are tiger sharks – they are not white." Tiger sharks have a much wider dietary spectrum, consuming turtles and far more different species than Big White.

Meanwhile, 22 shark attacks around Australia have been reported this year, according to data provided by 9News.com.au Taronga Zoo.
Ten of them took place in Western Australia, seven in NSW, four in Queensland and the other in Victoria.

While there is not enough research to fully predict shark behavior, so you know when attacks may occur, Mrs. Elizabeth has said there are environmental symptoms people can take to avoid animals.

"When you're in the darker waters, there's more opportunity for a shark to pass without counter-attacks – it's safer for them," she said.

"People can do things like avoiding dark water or swimming in areas that are far away from fish or whales … If there has been an attack in the area, you do not plan to swim in this area – be smart and minimize your risk.

An increase in recent attacks - and a total of 22 years around 2007 in Australia - has left many people interested in what can be done to reduce the number of incidents.
An increase in recent attacks – and a total of 22 years around 2007 in Australia – has left many people interested in what can be done to reduce the number of incidents. (AAP)

"We still need to keep in mind that shark attacks are still a very, very rare occurrence … We are not in the normal range of prey."

How to prevent attacks?

In Australia, transition from traditional prevention methods, such as shark nets and bait baits, to new technologies to deter the creature.

"We could absolutely do more," said Lindsay Lyon, CEO of Ocean Guardian, 9News.com.au

While examining the behavior of different shark species, there are still no real answers to why sharks behave the way they do.
While examining the behavior of different shark species, there are still no real answers to why sharks behave the way they do. (AAP)

"What we have today is that we have one piece in the sand and that is, we have proven technology for personal intimidation for surfing and diving."

He said the federal government senate's investigations into shark dangers have found there is no evidence that shark nets are preventing shark attacks. He said the same thing could be said about drum lines.

Ocean Guardian is an Australian company that develops the Shark Shield technology – the only electric reflection system in the world that emits electromagnetic impulses into the water to discourage sharks.

"Sharks have small small electric receptors in their snout, they also have eyesight, smell and hearing, but they use these electric receptors just as we use touch," said Lyon.

"We create a very strong electric field that causes the receptors to cramp, are overly sensitive and turn away the shark.

"When we go to the ocean, we have to take the risk of adventures. If we want to reduce the risk, we can do so – there is no doubt a proven technology that significantly reduces risk."

Focus has since focused on new technologies that can discourage sharks without killing or damaging the ecosystem.
Focus has since focused on new technologies that can discourage sharks without killing or damaging the ecosystem. (9news)

According to Mr Lyon, this technology is a way forward, but it has only been promoted in Western Australia at government level.

In WA, residents who buy Shark Shield packages for diving or surfing offer discounts provided by the government.

"The levels of shark attacks will continue the same as they did for 30 years to increase, and I do not think that there is any doubt," said Mr Lyon.

The world's first Australian technology, Shark Shield, could also indicate the end of shark nets and drum lines across the country.
The world's first Australian technology, Shark Shield, could also indicate the end of shark nets and drum lines across the country. (Nine)

"Australia is known as the capital city of a shark attack in the world, and it affects our tourism by one percent – the Australian economy is holding nearly half a billion dollars a year.

"Technology is the answer and it has been proven to be the answer, so let's take it and continue.

"Next year, the Ocean Guardian plans to release a range of 10-meter-long Shark Shield Shark Shields that are designed to work just like a network of sharks without a network.

New technology could launch Australia into a new wave of shark attack prevention that has not previously been seen around the world.
New technology could launch Australia into a new wave of shark attack prevention that has not previously been seen around the world. (AAP)

Mr. Lyon also exclusively said 9News.com.au The partnership between Ocean Guardian and Macquarie University will try to extend the products to a radius of 50 meters – thereby eliminating the need for networks anywhere.

"You will win 100 meters of electric field in diameter to replace shark nets and drum ropes that sit on a deep ocean buoy," he said.

From an ecological point of view, Mrs. Elizabeth said that technology is essential for effective prevention.

"Moving forward, these new technologies need to be tapped and diverted from the drums," she said.

"An attempt to remove sharks is a very archaic and outdated and uneducated response. It does not help researchers to identify the causes of the attacks and also has an impact on the ecosystem.

"There are definitely better steps you can take to minimize risk."

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018


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