Port Macquarie hosts drone trials

RESULTS from drone trials conducted at Port Macquarie this month will help protect swimmers on the NSW coast.

The three-day trial attracted plenty of attention around May 17 as a helicopter and drone shared a flight path on the hour to spot different forms of wildlife.

The trial was part of the NSW Government’s $16 million Shark Management Strategy to see how well the drone technology could potentially spot a shark.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) conducted the trials.

A spokesperson said the results would form part of a larger trial of technology in different conditions on the NSW coast, starting in November 2015.

“This is in addition to a range of other state-of-the-art technologies being trialled to help protect beach-goers on the NSW coast such as SMART drumlines and the Cleverbuoy,” they said.

SMART drumlines alert DPI when a shark is captured allowing the tagging and releasing of said shark.

Cleverbouy’s use sonar technology to detect shark-sized objects and relay the information to shore.

VR4G linked listening stations detects tagged sharks within 500 metres.

“Ten VR4G listening stations are now also in place in Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Ballina, Evans Head, Yamba, Coffs Harbour, South West Rocks, Port Macquarie and Forster.

“The information collected from these receivers goes a long way in better informing us about where tagged sharks are located along our coastline,” they said.

Detection of tagged sharks is broadcast automatically via the DPI Twitter account @NSWSharkSmart and also on the SharkSmart app.

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