Northern Illawarra beaches will be among the first in Australia to trial a new shark-deterrent strategy-after Wollongong Council signed up to the innovative plan.
Lifeguard jet skis along our beaches will be fitted with Shark Shield electrical shark-deterrent devices. This will be supported by :-
- Coastal aerial patrols south from Stanwell Park
- Drone surveillance following confirmed shark sightings
When a shark is spotted, the jet skis will be used to herd it away from the beaches.
Council’s Recreation Manager Mark Bond says although there were only a few sightings at Wollongong beaches last season, they felt it was important to be proactive.
“We have 42 kilometres of coastline with 17 patrolled beaches,” he says. “That’s the biggest service in NSW, which services not only residents of the Illawarra, but more increasingly visitors from South Western Sydney, with over one million beach users every summer.”
“An estimated 1.2 million people visited beaches from Stanwell Park to Windang during the 2016/17 swim season. Lifeguards conducted more than 42,000 preventative actions and 544 rescues.”
It’s hoped this new strategy will further improve the safety of our local beaches.
According to Wollongong Council, Shark Shield is the world’s only scientifically-proven and independently-tested electrical shark deterrent. Its effectiveness was studied in 2016 by University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute researchers and scientists from the University of Western Australia, Macquarie University, Flinders University and Oceans Research in South Africa. The study provided overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of Shark Shield at turning sharks away.
Sharks have small short-range electrical receptors in their snouts used for locating food. Shark Shield’s unique three-dimensional electrical waveform turns sharks away by causing unbearable spasms in these sensitive receptors. Used by professionals around the world, including by navys and for surfing contests in South Africa, Shark Shield is a safety device providing peace of mind, while supporting the conservation of sharks.
“As the use of Shark Shield on jet skis is a new initiative, the company that makes them is donating their services to us for this trial.” said Mr Bond.