Sharks present a clear danger to all those who wish to enjoy the beach. Those who view all sharks as the relentless eating machines presented in Jaws, but some also look at sharks as an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. Luckily, there are people in the world attempting to develop ways to prevent shark attacks without simply killing all the sharks that venture near the shore.
These men who try to protect both man and nature possess a special role in today’s world as the number of shark attacks seem to be rising. Sharkattackdata.com presents statistics that state shark attacks have been consistently increasing over the years. According to an article on usatoday.com, the U.S. has already surpassed half the average unprovoked shark attacks normally seen in a year due to increases in activity within water and salt water due to droughts.
This increase of shark activity has led companies to start producing technologies which help coastal areas detect and deter sharks. One such invention comes from an Australian company named Optus. They have created the Clever Buoy which uses sonar in a way similar to how face recognition software works. The sonar detects a body in the water and deliberates whether or not that body is a shark. If the buoy decides this body is a shark, a message is sent to nearby lifeguards.
The Clever Buoy provides a more environmentally friendly alternative to other shark detection methods such as tagging. As where tagging consists of placing a piece of metal into the shark and manually tracking the shark, the Clever Buoy allows detection without interference or manual labor. This buoy could also work in tandem with a new shark deterrent system called Shark Shield.
The Shark Shield functions by sending out an electrical field to deter oncoming sharks by vibrating the gel-sacs within their snouts. The device has been tested and works effectively so far. According to Financialtimes.com, the company has already made deals to integrate their product into surf equipment, so the idea that they would work with Optus to make their own technology more enticing isn’t out of the question. The Clever Buoy could send a signal to the Shark Shields about nearby sharks, causing the deterrent field to start early.
The Clever Buoy presents an interesting future in beach safety, but also comes with its fair share of issues. The sonar can only travel so far in water. Some sharks may possibly make it to the shore without being detected. The distance of the buoy from the shore also presents issues. If the buoy is too far out, lifeguards may evacuate the beach because a shark with no intention of moving towards the shore swam by the buoy, and if the buoy is moved close to the shore, the lifeguards may not have enough time to evacuate the beach.
The Clever Buoy does provide environmentally friendly way of keeping man safe, but has yet to truly be tested. The true outcomes may drastically differ from expectations.
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