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NSW deploys shark-detecting drones, replaces helicopters

written by Adam Thorn | July 3, 2020

The NSW government is set to deploy a new generation of shark-monitoring drones that are so advanced they can even identify the creature’s size and species.

The announcement forms part of a new $8 million strategy that will see 80 drones deployed across 34 beaches and a gradual phasing out of the use of helicopters. 


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?????????‍♀️??‍♂️ Take a look at what we have seen with our drones during the Shark Management Strategy trials. Thank you to everyone that has been part of these world first trials that started back in December 2015. Dr Paul Butcher (@nsw_dpi), Andrew Colefax (@southerncrossuni) and their contract, public (@slsnsw) and research collaborators have certainly taken this technology from an option to reality. #sharksmartnsw #sharkdrone #whiteshark #tigershark #bullshark #nswdpi #drone #dronephotography #dronevideography #baitfish #droneresearch #besharksmart #dji #dronelife #drpaulbutcher #andrewcolefax @hoveruav @scoutaerial @paul__butcher #mjvisualmedia #visionmedia

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Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the drones were a “big advance” on current models while Ballina mayor David Wright suggested the devices were so good he didn’t think helicopters were now necessary. 

“It’s like someone offering you $1,000 and you’re questioning whether it’s in $100 notes or $50 notes,” Cr Wright told the ABC

As part of the plan, helicopters will soon no longer operate on the north and south coast of NSW. 

The announcement follows a $16 million trial of shark mitigation strategies that began in 2016 after a huge uptick in shark attacks on the north coast. 

Director of Surf Life Saving Cheryl McCarthy said, “It’s having those ‘eyes in the skies’ to get a different perspective which you don’t have from the beach.

“If there are emergency call-outs in the area they can be deployed to back up those search efforts as well.

“They’re easy to move around because they’re small and we can trek them into remote areas.”

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