June 3 - New shark detection technology is being tested off beaches in Australia where shark attacks last year killed two people and left eight others severely injured. The system, called ''Clever Buoy'' is designed to relay sonar alerts to satellites and lifeguards on the beach whenever one of the predators swims within range. Rob Muir reports.
It's called "Clever Buoy" and it's been designed to protect swimmers an surfers from the great scourge of Australia's beaches - the shark. There have been more than 200 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia over the last twenty years. With its sonar and satellite-based warning technology, Perth company Shark Mitigation Systems, aims to significantly reduce the incidence of shark attack. Clever Buoy's sonar technology is designed to recognise sharks in the water - even those that have not been tagged - according co-founder Hamish Jolly. . (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHARK MITIGATION SYSTEMS CO-FOUNDER HAMISH JOLLY SAYING: "The testing found two really important things the first is that we can actually see a shark using sonar which historically has been quite difficult to do. The second is that we are able to pick up the specific characteristics around the way that a shark actually swims which gives us the opportunity to detect sharks as opposed to other objects in the water." And when the system sees a shark, it immediately sends a signal to a satellite which relays the alert to lifeguards on the beach via a flashing light in the guard tower. Woolahra Council's Chief Lifeguard, Bruce Hopkins says "Clever Buoy" could be breakthrough technology. SOUNDBITE)(English) WOOLAHRA COUNCIL CHIEF LIFEGUARD, BRUCE 'HOPPO' HOPKINS SAYING: "The Clever Buoy is going to be something that is going to be great for the lifeguards with the technology. We'll know when somethng comes through. It'll notify us in the tower and then we'll be able to see what it is actually that's come through into the beach. We'll know whether to put the alarm on or whether just to send the jet ski out to check out the condition." But Clever Buoy is not quite ready for commercial use. The company wants to refine and improve its sonar and shark recognition software, but Hamish Jolly says he's confident that when it's eventiually deployed, "Clever Buoy" will save lives.