Surfboard fins with electronic shark deterrents and an acoustic system to detect sharks at beaches are among four research projects to share in almost $1 million as part of the West Australian government’s shark hazard mitigation strategy.
WA company Shark Shield will receive $300,000 over two years to develop surfboard fins with an in-built shark deterrent device that can be retro-fitted to all modern surfboards.
Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology will receive $130,124 over three years to develop systems that mask the noises of beachgoers that attract sharks.
The University of Western Australia (UWA) will receive $252,417 to develop an acoustic system to detect sharks as they approach beaches.
A further $284,620 will be granted for a separate project at UWA to define the visual, electrical and vibrational cues that trigger shark attacks to help design shark deterrents.
Premier Colin Barnett said there was not one simple way to minimise shark attacks.
“Finding out more about sharks and developing new methods to detect and deter sharks is obviously central,” he said.
The premier said the projects would complement research undertaken under the first round of the program, including research into existing shark deterrents and unique deterrents such as strobe lights, bubble curtains and using underwater sounds.
That first round of grants also funded Curtin University’s research into sonar detection and imaging of sharks and a project at UWA looking at the development of algorithms to improve visual shark detection.