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Science & Research

The Western Australian Government's shark mitigation strategy has a strong evidence based focus, backed by science. The Government has supported a variety of research projects and initiatives to enhance our understanding of shark biology and ecology to better inform our government policies. 

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Shark Monitoring Network

Shark Monitoring Network

06 November 2013

The Shark Monitoring Network (SMN) is a network of acoustic receivers, which provide land managers, relevant authorities and the public with near real-time alerts of tagged shark detections at key locations. 

Sharks are fitted with acoustic tags that emit a sequence of low frequency ‘clicks’, giving each tag an audible identification number. These unique signals can be detected and recorded when the shark swims within range of a shark monitoring receiver.  

Shark monitoring receivers are located throughout the Perth metropolitan area, Geographe Bay, Yallingup, Gracetown, Albany and Esperance. Receiver locations can be viewed on the SharkSmart activity map. 

The SMN was established in 2009 to see if it was possible to monitor the movements of tagged white sharks off the metropolitan coast, and to use new receiver technology as an early warning system when tagged sharks swam close to popular beaches.

A seven-year research program between 2009 and 2016 showed that the movement of white sharks was mostly uncoordinated, which makes it hard to predict when humans might encounter them.

The SMN continues to collect detection data and is used as a warning system, detecting tagged sharks, enabling beaches to be closed when needed. This provides the public with critical information to make an informed decision on their water use. 

Did you know… 

In Australia, there are two distinct populations of white sharks (southern-western and eastern), separated east and west by the Bass Strait. Agreements with partner organisations allow white sharks tagged by other organisations to be detected by WA’s SMN. By sharing information with other organisations, researchers are able to better understand white shark movement across Australia. 

For further information on the seven-year research program refer to:

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