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Factors Affecting Shark Detection from Drone Patrols in Southeast Queensland, Eastern Australia

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Mitchell, J. D., Scott-Holland, T. B. and Butcher, P. A. (2022) Factors Affecting Shark Detection from Drone Patrols in Southeast Queensland, Eastern Australia. Biology, 11 (11). p. 1552. ISSN 2079-7737

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11111552

Publisher URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-7737/11/11/1552

Abstract

Drones enable the monitoring for sharks in real-time, enhancing the safety of ocean users with minimal impact on marine life. Yet, the effectiveness of drones for detecting sharks (especially potentially dangerous sharks; i.e., white shark, tiger shark, bull shark) has not yet been tested at Queensland beaches. To determine effectiveness, it is necessary to understand how environmental and operational factors affect the ability of drones to detect sharks. To assess this, we utilised data from the Queensland SharkSmart drone trial, which operated at five southeast Queensland beaches for 12 months in 2020–2021. The trial conducted 3369 flights, covering 1348 km and sighting 174 sharks (48 of which were >2 m in length). Of these, eight bull sharks and one white shark were detected, leading to four beach evacuations. The shark sighting rate was 3% when averaged across all beaches, with North Stradbroke Island (NSI) having the highest sighting rate (17.9%) and Coolum North the lowest (0%). Drone pilots were able to differentiate between key shark species, including white, bull and whaler sharks, and estimate total length of the sharks. Statistical analysis indicated that location, the sighting of other fauna, season and flight number (proxy for time of day) influenced the probability of sighting sharks

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science, Fisheries Queensland
Keywords:shark monitoring; beach safety; drones; southeast Queensland
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > By region or country > Australia
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery conservation
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery management. Fishery policy
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery research
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery for individual species
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia > Queensland
Deposited On:24 Oct 2022 00:19
Last Modified:24 Oct 2022 00:19

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