SYDNEY, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- With springtime underway in Australia, the warmer weather means droves of eager beachgoers will soon be heading to the surf.
But in order to keep swimmers safe, the New South Wales (NSW) Government have announced on Monday that 18 of the state’s busiest beaches will be monitored with shark surveillance drones.
Trialled last year, the high-tech program flew more than 25,000 km over 8,000 flights, observing approximately 350 sharks, and ordering the evacuation of beaches on 48 occasions.
“We know drones are the future when it comes to keeping beachgoers safe,” NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said.
“This trial under the NSW Government’s five-year Shark Management Strategy will enhance the already significant capacity of our lifeguards and lifesavers, increasing protection for beachgoers from sharks and other beach hazards.”
According to Taronga Zoo’s Shark Attack File, since 2015 there have been a total of 38 shark attacks in NSW, with one incident proving fatal.
To combat the increasing dangers, the NSW Shark Management Strategy was launched in December 2016.
Including shark surveillance drones, the five-year plan also uses SMART drumlines to capture and tag the predators for tracking.
“We were already the largest operator of drones for coastal surveillance and rescue response on the NSW coast, but this latest trial just takes us to a new level,” Surf Life Saving NSW CEO, Steven Pearce said.
“This year we are taking them to Crescent Head, Forster and Batemans Bay to meet the current and future demands in those increasingly popular parts of our coast.”
The program is set to begin on September 21.