Last year, six whales became entangled in shark nets designed to protect humans on Australia's Gold Coast beaches. This year, authorities are launching nets equipped with high tech alarms to warn the whales before it's too late.
Referred to as 'pingers' these acoustic alarms are designed to make the nets stand out from the background noise of boats, swimmers, and waves, and alert the whales to their presence before they become caught.
Although all six of the whales caught in the nets last year were successfully freed by Marine Animal Release Teams, these operations cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars. "Prevention is certainly a better option,'' Department Of Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin said. "Pingers could save taxpayers money."
Fisheries Queensland said 90 pingers would be in the water at any one time - three on each net from Mackay to the Gold Coast. If successful, they will be fitted to the nets from May 1 to November 30 each year.