What could and should we be doing?
Queensland Modernisation Proposal
Together with leading organisations in this space, we have compiled a formal proposal to modernise the entire Queensland Shark Control Program with modern non-lethal shark bite mitigation technologies. Published in October 2020, this report gives a detailed cost breakdown of how to modernise the program and for Queensland, Australia to become a global leader on this topic.
It can be viewed in full here. Some of the methods cited in the proposal are listed below.
Hover UAV - Drone Technology
Shark detecting drones are being used on beaches in NSW by the Department of Primary Industries (with operations conducted by Hover UAV) as part of the NSW Government’s $16 million Shark Management Strategy. These have proven remarkably effective at spotting sharks, identifying species, and clearing the water if it is a species of concern.
SharkSafe Barrier: Protect Your Coast Line
The SharkSafe Barrier is a product that has been developed to ensure the safety of beach-goers from shark attacks, to prevent the loss of tourism revenue following these traumatic events, and to stop the environmental damage caused by some of the protection measures currently used.
SharkSafe Barrier successfully bio-mimics the visual effects of a kelp forest, and combines this with a series of permanent magnetic stimuli, to form a barrier that dissuades sharks from passing through. The SharkSafe Barrier can be the first 100% effective eco-friendly technology to protect humans from sharks without harming marine life. Prototypes deployed in South Africa and the Bahamas were tested by attracting the sharks with chum, to motivate them to go through the barrier. It was observed that none of them (84 white sharks and 41 bull sharks) swam through the barrier.
With the exclusion tests in South Africa and The Bahamas it was proven that SharkSafe Barrier can effectively keep sharks away from a food source and can effectively protect a swimming area, by keep sharks separated from people.
Eco-Shark Barrier: Marine-life friendly swimming enclosures
Eco Shark Barrier is the world's leading designer and manufacturer of marine friendly swimming enclosures. Eco Shark Barrier are a Perth-based company with an excellent track record in designing eco shark barriers in Australia and overseas.
The barrier is comprised of a network of durable components. These work together to form an enclosure that is flexible enough to allow the passage of small marine life. It is also rigid enough to prevent the entry or entanglement of large marine animals, including sharks, and to withstand forces of nature. The eco shark barrier forms a complete enclosure, from seabed to surface. Its unique design creates a safe swimming area that blends into its surrounding environment.
The barrier can be secured to a range of different surfaces including sandy seabeds, reefs and groynes. It is independently certified and adapts to its unique environment. The barrier can be installed in shallow and deep waters.
Ocean Guardian: The Worlds only proven Electrical Shark Deterrents
Sharks have short-range electrical receptors in their snouts called the “Ampullae of Lorenzini” used for finding food. Ocean Guardian’s patented Shark Shield Technology has been developed to specifically take advantage of these highly sensitive receptors, creating a powerful three-dimensional electrical field that cause spasms turning the sharks away, including Great Whites. Shark Shield Technology is so effective; in Western Australia, the State Government has a $200 rebate available for the purchase of our FREEDOM+ Surf and FREEDOM7 – applied at the point of sale when you buy in-store.
This technology has also been adapted into barrier technology for installation at beaches to create safe enclosures. A Cell Phone App is available to perform basic status testing and to switch barrier on/off on-site. Remote Monitoring Station software is available to monitor the barrier in real-time over the internet. Provision is made for
detailed analysis of all the pods and control of the barrier.
There is a complete lack of education of the general public in Australia on how to avoid human shark interactions. The 'Australian Surfing Guide to Sharks' was written by filmmaker and conservationist (and Envoy: Shark Cull cast member) Madison Stewart to lessen the gap between those who study and swim with sharks and those who surf with them.
This is the most comprehensive guide on shark behaviors, environmental conditions that create risk for humans, post-incident medical response, and much more. Governments should put information like this out at scale, teach it widely, including as part of the school curriculum. This is life-saving information that is not made public or taught in any meaningful or impactful way by Government.
Having less well-presented and researched information, multiple pages deep in a complex unintuitive menu system, on a Government website, is not passable as education in the 21st century.
After pushing for the introduction of medical kits at beaches that are known for shark activity, Sea Shepherd liaised with representatives from Shark Spotters in Cape Town, South Africa as well as Perth-based paramedic, Jerry Barrett to create the Acute Shark Attack Pack (ASAP). These should be sign-post mounted at unpatrolled surf breaks, and even at patrolled beaches outside of patrol hours. These kits can save lives and need to be urgently and widely adopted.
Sharks and rays in The Bahamas generate $113.8 million USD annually for the economy. Most of these $113.8 million USD revenues come from the shark diving industry. The relative economic value of sharks was highest in economically deprived islands. The monetary benefits of sharks in economically deprived islands remain unrealized. Fiji has a similar success story around positive and sizeable economic benefits from the protection and positive exploitation of sharks.
Queensland and New South Wales, instead of capitalising on this huge opportunity to exploit our natural resources in a positive manner, are culling this economic opportunity and the animals that could create it.
No monetary contribution was made to this film by any of the product or service-based solutions featured. There are many more solutions available, those that were chosen to feature in this film are intended to showcase a cross-section of available solutions, not to be a product endorsement.