As we welcome the first whales of the migration season, it’s been confirmed new technology is being trialed to help steer the gentle giants away from shark nets.
Queensland is working to improve the reliability of the acoustic pingers that help deter whales from the barriers as they make their way along the coastline between April and October.
“Pingers have been used successfully in recent years to keep whales away from shark nets,” Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said.
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“Last year only one whale was entangled in shark netting and it was successfully released without harm,” Ms Donaldson added.
“That’s a great outcome when you consider approximately 24,000 whales migrated up and back in 2015.”
A data logging buoy is now being trialled to monitor the pingers and make sure they are always working.
“We are also keen to use the latest technology to reduce accidental capture of marine animals.”
Some of the first humpback whales have been spotted heading north past the Gold Coast on their 5,000 km migration. pic.twitter.com/LfD06evOGJ
— City of Gold Coast (@cityofgoldcoast) May 29, 2016
Jeff Krause, who manages the Shark Control Program for Fisheries Queensland, said a buoy fitted with the technology was now in the ocean off Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast to identify any malfunctions.
“The data buoy is transmitting information on the pingers to CoastalComs so any defects can be picked up immediately so the faulty pingers can be replaced,” Mr Krause said.
“Further use of the data-logging buoy may include the ability to track nets that become loose due to heavy weather conditions.”
If people see an entangled animal, you can report it immediately to the Sharkwatch Hotline on 1800 806 891.