​Qld government trials data-logging buoys to protect migrating whales

In a bid to ensure the safety of migrating whales, the Queensland government is trialling new buoys that have been fitted with technology that can identify any malfunctioning pingers.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Queensland government is trialling new buoys to improve the reliability of the acoustic pingers that are used to protect migrating whales off the state's coast.

According to Jeff Krause, who manages the Shark Control Program for Fisheries Queensland, the buoys have been fitted with technology that can now identify any malfunctioning pingers, which have been used in recent years to keep whales away from shark nets.

"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," he said.

"Further use of the data-logging buoy may include the ability to track nets that become loose due to heavy weather conditions."

Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said the trial is part of the state's commitment to the Shark Control Program.

"The pingers play a big part in ensuring that whales pass through Queensland waters without incident, and we are now trialling a data-logging buoy to monitor the pingers and make sure they are always working," she said.

"This new technology will ensure the effectiveness of pingers used in the program to warn whales of the nets and prevent entanglements."

New technology is also being used to track sharks; Shark Mitigation Systems, which deploys the "Clever Buoy", last month listed on the ASX after raising AU$3.5 million including through Optus and Google.

In March, Shark Mitigation Systems had announced its initial public offering (IPO).

Clever Buoy is a system that combines sonar, satellite, and mobile networks to bring greater water safety through shark detection.

According to Optus, the Clever Buoy is equipped with a rechargeable battery powering the sonar below, as well as a microprocessor to analyse the sonar data, which detects "shark-like objects" in the water. Once a shark is detected, the buoy sends a signal via its on-board two-way Inmarsat IsatData Pro satellite service over a secure channel through the Optus network.

The shark-detection data is also shared over Optus' mobile network via Google+.

Shark Mitigation Systems signed pro surfer Taj Burrow on Wednesday as an ambassador for the company, to assist in raising awareness about its shark-detection technology.

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