WA State Government consider SMS alerts over shark threats

Topic: Industry News, Uses of SMS

In the wake of three fatal shark attacks within the last two months, the State Government in Western Australia are considering the idea of establishing a ‘shark hotline’ which will allow people the chance to send SMS alerts about shark The shadow of a sharkattacks or sightings.Local residents made their feelings on the matter very clear at a public forum in Busselton last week. Fisheries Department Chief Executive Stuart Smith has since responded to the calls from a concerned public.“We are interested in developing a system that works best for our purposes,” said Mr Smith. “We will evaluate the effectiveness of the current alerts in place and use something similar or build an entirely new system.”Smith said that he and his officers were considering a system which would be quite similar to the one which was established by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority in the area.That particular system was designed to warn people who live in ‘at-risk’ areas about potentially threatening bushfires.Norman Moore, the Fisheries Minister, was cautious but open to discussion on the subject when speaking to The Sunday Times recently.“Such an option would usually prove useful to alert people of sightings when they were out of the water. However, if the research advice indicates it could be a viable and cost effective shark mitigation tool, the State Government will consider it among any other options identified by the review,” Mr. Moore stated.The idea is certainly a very original use of an SMS service, and may prove useful if there was evidence that the spate of recent attacks was set to continue.Professor Shaun Collin, from the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, accepted the merits of an SMS alert system, but also suggested that education on the issue of sharks is extremely important.“Since there is so little known about sharks, their movement patterns and the influences of environmental cues on their behaviour, the Government could consider funding more focused research,” said Prof Collin.

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