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Several shark-spotting surveillance drones will be used to improve beach patrols’ precision in Western Australia’s South West.
Fisheries minister, Joe Francis, claimed the $88,000 three-month trial will start next month.
“Drone technology has advanced significantly in recent years and it makes sense to test if it can be used effectively to make our beaches safer,” Francis said.”It’s important any responsible government adopt evolving technologies to help keep people safe”.
According to abc.net, the drones would not be flown all day every day, they will be used by lifesaver patrols as necessary at various beaches in Perth and the South West.
SLSWA Lifesaving services manager Peter Scott said the drones would add another layer of shark protection strategies including beach and helicopter patrols.
The drones will be used at surf carnivals and other community events at local beaches from November to January 2017.
Shark-spotting drones have also been trialled in New South Wales. Opposition leader Mark McGowan said drones were worth trialling, but is pushing for a $200,000 trial to subsidise 1,000 shark shields, an electronic device that can be mounted on a surfboard that emits a pulse that repels sharks.
Mr McGowan said 12 of the past 14 people taken by sharks in Western Australia waters were surfing or diving.”We need to provide assistance for those people so that they can take precautions for their own safety,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get people out there to trial these units and try to dispel any myths about them, more people will take them up and we can protect more surfers and divers.”
Francis said he would not support the subsidisation of shark shields for individuals. “When it comes to subsidising a commercial, individually-worn safety product, my view would be that that is not the role of government,” he said.”You should not be paying tax to subsidise the individual safety product for different sports.”