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SMN Research Project

SUMMARY

Between 2009 and 2016 the Shark Monitoring Network (SMN) research project collected data from 309 data-recording receivers from Esperance to Ningaloo, including 25 satellite-linked receivers deployed along the Perth, South West and South Coasts. The seven year program recorded almost 180,000 shark detections on these receivers, providing a wealth of valuable data. 

More than 22,000 of those detections were from 64 tagged white sharks. The research showed the movement of white sharks was mostly uncoordinated, which makes it hard to predict when humans might encounter them.

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The success of the SMN research project relied on a close collaboration between Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and CSIRO scientists, fisheries and marine officers and cage-diving operators to tag white sharks in both Western and South Australia. By sharing tag identification numbers with collaborators from the CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship and the South Australian cage-diving industry, we were able to monitor white sharks tagged outside Western Australia. This approach also allowed other organisations to let us know when their acoustic receivers detected sharks tagged in WA.

While the data collection phase of the research is completed, the lasting public benefit is the satellite-linked receivers. The receivers will continue to provide land managers and relevant authorities with near real time alerts of tagged sharks at key locations, enabling beaches to be closed when needed, and providing the public with critical information when making decisions on its water use.  

SMN RESEARCH MAP

The research map allows you to explore data collected from the SMN and the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN). It can be used to investigate how many tagged sharks (and other fish) have been detected, when they were detected and the pathways they use to travel around the coast.

As this map provides detailed content and data, it is best viewed in a desktop environment.

The red boxes around the Western Australian coast indicate the areas where receivers have been installed, known as ‘arrays’. By clicking on these boxes, you can see a summary of how many and what type of receivers have been deployed in each array.

When you zoom in on an array or click Zoom To in an array’s pop-up window, you will see individual acoustic receivers’ locations and types.

Receiver types:

  • Satellite-linked (VR4G) acoustic receivers transmit detection data via satellite before being relayed to public safety officials by the DPIRD Shark Monitoring System. These receivers need fresh batteries and a major service of their buoys and moorings annually. 
  • Data-recording (VR2W) acoustic receivers do not transmit data but store it in the receivers’ onboard memory. These receivers were recovered annually during the research project phase so that stored data could be downloaded and the receivers serviced. Depending on water depth recovery was by divers, electronic release mechanism and later via use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

Satellite-linked (VR4G) receivers are shown as yellow, data recording (VR2W) receivers are blue circles, and temporary or historic receiver locations are shown as black circles. 

If you click on an individual receiver’s location, a summary of tag detections, and when the data was last refreshed will pop-up. Detection data for different species are organised in separate pages, which you can scroll through by clicking the arrows at the top of the pop-up windows.

Acoustic receivers record the shark’s identification number and the date and time of the detection. Our Tagged Shark Movement videos highlight the type of information which could be developed from the tag detection data that was collected. 

Although many of the receivers were removed at the completion of the research project, the satellite-linked receivers remain and provide land managers and relevant authorities with near real-time alerts of tagged sharks at key locations, enabling beaches to be closed when needed. Members of the public can view this detection information on our shark activity map. 

The SMN research map will be updated as required. Operational requirements may require that receivers are added or moved. 

 

 

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