With six fatal attacks in the past two years, Australia has a bigger shark problem than any other country. The latest effort to reduce that rate involves sharks tweeting their whereabouts.
As reported by NPR, a project undertaken by the Australian government has tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that send a message to a computer system which automatically tweets when the sharks wearing them swim within a half mile of populated beaches. Those who follow the Twitter account Surf Life Saving WA can receive updates on nearby sharks that may be a threat, including details like the shark's breed and size.
Fisheries advise: tagged Tiger shark detected at 2km off Scarborough receiver at 09:41:00 PM on 2-Jan-2014
— Surf Life Saving WA (@SLSWA) January 2, 2014
Although she warns beachgoers that not all sharks in the area are tagged, shark expert Alison Kock told NPR that the geotagging program "is exactly what we need more of when it comes to finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict."
Similarly, others have questioned whether the tag-and-tweet system will actually improve safety, NPR reported.
"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," Kim Holland, a marine biologist who leads shark research at the University of Hawaii, told NPR.