Acoustic tags provide near real-time information when a tagged shark swims within range of a Shark Monitoring Network receiver. The information provided from tagged shark detections supports response agencies and enables the public to make informed decisions about their water use.
Western Australian water users can be alerted of tagged shark detections via the SharkSmart WA app.
DPIRD researchers aim to internally implant tags, which allow a shark to be detected for up to ten years.
Sharks are fitted with acoustic tags that emit a sequence of low frequency ‘clicks’, giving each tag an audible identification number. Once detected on a shark monitoring receiver, these unique signals are recorded.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) captures a shark using specialised fishing equipment. When safe to do so, the shark is brought alongside the vessel by experienced research staff.
Once a shark has been secured, it is rolled onto its back and put into a sleep-like state known as ‘tonic immobility’.
A small incision is then made along the shark’s lower abdomen and an internal acoustic tag is inserted into this cavity. The incision is then closed with a few small stitches. When a shark is fitted with an internal acoustic tag, a plastic identification tag is also attached to the dorsal fin as a visual record.