In the last few years, shark hysteria has reached all-time highs.There have been many different proposed solutions: sharks on Twitter, declaring open season for shark fishermen, netting beaches, and of course, hanging ragged chunks of meat off giant hooks, baiting them in, then killing them and dragging them out to sea. One solution stand out above the rest. It’s called Clever Buoy, and it makes a lot of sense. Much more sense than killing a species that is already in pretty dire straights, and one that we’re already killing millions of every year so we can eat soup and get boners, or whatever stupid thing someone stupid says that shark fins do. And now the Clever Buoy is finally getting in the water.
The shark issue is all a bit confusing–there are about a thousand conflicting reports about the actual number of shark attacks and encounters. One thing is for certain, though: culling sharks is a dumb idea, because overall, it simply doesn’t work. I do sympathize with those that want it to work, but the fact is that they’re misinformed.
The Clever Buoy contains a sonar system within it that sends a signal skyward to a satellite when a large fish swims by. The satellite then shoots an alert down to nearby lifeguards. And although it might seem like an unnecessarily long journey, it makes a whole lot more sense than most of the other options out there.
The Clever Buoy uses an algorithm that’s similar to the facial recognition on your camera, but it uses swimming technique instead of eyeball placement. Things like dolphins and turtles won’t set the buoy off, because of how they move through the water.
“It uses a multi-beam sonar which is a relatively new sonar technology, coupled with some software which is very much like facial recognition technology for marine life,” said Craig Anderson, one of the company founders, but not the style-guru on a Hypto-Krypto. “Anything that is greater than two meters and is self-propelled will be detected… because history of shark attacks around the world tells us that with anything less than two meters, you’re unlikely to die.” Anderson says the Clever Buoy has a 90% success rate when it comes to detecting sharks.
Niall Blair, the Primary Industries Minister of New South Wales, said the use of the new technology was part of the government’s $16 million shark strategy. “We have aerial surveillance which has been expanded. We have our shark meshing program between Newcastle and Wollongong,” he said. “We have our 4G system on the north coast which is detecting tagged sharks and now we’ve got our Clever Buoy in Bondi which we hope has a big future in NSW.”
Time will tell how well the Clever Buoy works, but one thing is for certain: in a time when too many are too willing to shoot first and ask questions later, the new technology is a step in the right direction when it comes to the compromise between human safety and environmental responsibility.