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Coming for dinner? The tracking system that texts lifeguards if killer sharks are near beach!!


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Here comes Jaws: The tracking system that texts lifeguards if killer sharks are near beach



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:00 PM on 30th December 2009




Great White sharks off the Australian coast have been electronically tagged to track their movements and thereby protect swimmers and surfers.

As the man-eating predators approach shallower waters the signal they emit will be picked up by a satellite receiver. Minutes later a text message or email is sent out to scientists, wildlife officials and lifeguards.

The tracking system set up around Perth in Western Australia is revolutionary because it will track the sharks in 'real time', said Rory McAuley a senior scientist with the West Australian Department of Fisheries.

In the past, the receiver, set up out at sea, had to be transported back on land for the information to be downloaded.


Enlarge article-1239348-016FACF7000004B0-266_468x311.jpg Its ferocious teeth bared, a Great White moves in for the kill. A signal is sent out from the tagged sharks when they get within 1,600ft of the shoreline




Enlarge article-1239348-00333CEB00000258-20_468x286.jpg This was the sign put up on Cottesloe beach in Perth after a great white killed one man and attacked another


About 20 satellite receivers, due to be in place by February, are to be set up on the seabed near popular beaches.

Dr McAuley said the devices were stabbed into most of the sharks while they were feeding on whale carcasses. More than 70 sharks have already been tagged.

The principal aim of the project is to measure the movements and migration patterns of 100 sharks along the coast.

Dr McAuley said he hopes the data will improve understanding of shark movements and how they relate to attacks.

He stopped short of calling the technology lifesaving, but said while it was primarily a research project, the data would be useful for shark detection and to send warnings to swimmers. A signal is sent out from the tagged shark when it gets within 1,600ft of the shoreline.


Enlarge article-1239348-07B9FEE9000005DC-988_468x399.jpg


'I think the public's fear of sharks stems largely from a fear of the unknown,' he added.

'Any information we can find out about the real risk of people encountering sharks at the beach will hopefully alleviate people's concerns to some degree.'

Three people have been killed in shark attacks in Western Australia in the past decade, with 10 more non-fatal attacks.

Nine years ago a man was savaged to death by a Great White in waist-deep water off Cottesloe Beach, a popular beach destination in Perth.

Earlier this year an open-water race off the beach was cancelled after a series of sightings.

Dr McAuley said: 'The information we are hoping to collect will hopefully help us answer questions such as how long white sharks spend off our beaches, whether they come back, is there a season, do they come back one year after the other?

'We have put the receivers out the front of surf lifesaving clubs because... if we are able to implement a response, that is where it is most likely to happen.'

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