More than 300 Australian sharks are now on Twitter

Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location…

The tagging system alerts beachgoers far quicker than traditional warnings, says Chris Peck, operations manager of Surf Life Saving Western Australia. “Now it’s instant information,” he tells Sky News, “and really people don’t have an excuse to say we’re not getting the information. It’s about whether you are searching for it and finding it.”

The tags will also be monitored by scientists studying the sharks. Researchers have tagged great whites, whaler sharks and tiger sharks.

“This kind of innovative thinking is exactly what we need more of when it comes to finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict,” says Alison Kock, research manager of the Shark Spotters program in South Africa. Kock tells NPR that the project is a good idea — but that people should know that not all sharks are tagged…

Kock and Kim Holland, a marine biologist who leads shark research at the University of Hawaii, agree that the tweets won’t be enough to protect swimmers.

“It can, in fact, provide a false sense of security — that is, if there is no tweet, then there is no danger — and that simply is not a reasonable interpretation,” Holland says, pointing out that the reverse is also true. “Just because there’s a shark nearby doesn’t mean to say that there’s any danger. In Hawaii, tiger sharks are all around our coastlines all the time, and yet we have very, very few attacks…”

The typical human response when something wild and natural kills something tame and unnatural that has invaded their evolutionary habitat – is to kill the wild beast. This is only exaggerated by governments who [of course] must consider additional aspects of the question. Like – how will these people vote in the next election if I’m not perceived as a father figure/protector.

4 thoughts on “More than 300 Australian sharks are now on Twitter

  1. Cassandra says:

    “Shark culling could indirectly accelerate climate change, study warns” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/29/shark-culling-climate-change-research A paper published in Nature Climate Change warns the removal of top ocean predators such as sharks causes a “trophic cascade” throughout the food chain that results in the release of carbon into the atmosphere. According to Dr Peter Macreadie, a marine ecologist at the University of Technology Sydney and Deakin University, if just 1 per cent of vegetated coastal habitat was exposed to trophic cascades this equates to the CO2 produced by close to 100 million cars. “There is no doubt that removing predators has consequences. We have already lost about 90 per cent of the ocean’s top predators yet practices such as shark culling and finning continue,” Dr Macreadie says. Article includes link to the study, “Predators Help Protect Carbon Stocks on Blue Carbon Ecosystems”. (See page 4 re: American alligators and sea otters). “Our study reveals the urgent need for further research, along with policies and management that conserve these animals. Marine predators may be the gatekeepers for the preservation of our planet’s current climate.” Utah State University aquatic ecologist Trisha Atwood, lead author of the paper. “Jumping the shark: Scientists say predators protect marine ecosystems, blue carbon” http://phys.org/news/2015-09-fishing-loss-ocean-predators-impact.html
    In half of the North Atlantic and North Pacific waters under national jurisdiction, fishing has led to a 90-per-cent decrease in top predators since the 1950s, and the impacts are now headed south of the Equator, according to a new study published online today {12/5/11} in the journal Marine Ecological Progress Series.” The study (“Modelling the effects of fishing on the biomass of the world’s oceans from 1950 to 2006”) is available at http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v442/p169-185/.

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