After the new shark attack, that claimed the life of a 13 year old child, Sunday April 12, the president of the Reunion region, Didier Robert, wants to quickly improve security. In a press release and a letter to the Prime Ministerhe regrets the “Slowness in the regulatory implementation of tools to protect swimming areas and nautical practices” and claims the “Establishment of a framework of actions derogating from common law to enable all local actors to respond urgently to an emergency situation”. Objective: to be able to deploy new protection devices.
Francetv info takes stock of devices that can fight against shark attacks.
A stone's throw from the beaches of Saint-Paul, Etang-Salé or Boucan Canot in Reunion, the string of small yellow buoys does not mark an area prohibited to navigation. It indicates the presence of an anti-shark net with large mesh which prevents the passage of large sharks and secures the areas.
It is a unique device. About fifty freedivers ensure the safety of surfers all around the island, explains The 1ere Meeting. Underwater, they patrol around surfers, equipped with repellent and beacon detectors to signal the presence of a marked shark. They are supposed to have a dissuasive role and must be able to repel the incursions of sharks.
The measure controversial when the prefecture questioned the effectiveness of the device and the risks incurred by divers, but it was finally made permanent. The overseas, sports and interior ministries have recognized the work of these lookouts who will be able to benefit from future employment contracts.
Robots and drones?
In l'Etang-Salé, the town hall plans to rent, for 244 euros per year, a remote-controlled boat packed with technology, according to The 1ere Meeting. This boat is equipped with surface and underwater cameras, as well as a laser to spot sharks, even in murky waters. This boat can then follow the shark. “Controlled by an operator from the beach, the drone sends him a message as soon as it has registered the presence of a shark”, Explain Reunion Island newspaper.
According to the site Zinfos974, during a meeting in October 2012, the use of flying drones or helium balloons equipped with cameras was also mentioned. This time, it was about spotting sharks from the sky.
There are different types, including a model currently being tested near Cape Town (South Africa). This is a high-tech version of the shark net. Presented as a small revolution by its promoters, a subsidiary of the South African weapons manufacturer Armscor, this harrow takes the form of a rope fixed on the seabed bristling with semi-rigid antennas pulsing low-frequency waves that disturb sharks and rays.
In 2014, Belgian researchers presented a close system in Reunion Island The 1ere Meeting. Buoys that emit an electromagnetic field. Sharks swimming nearby receive a slight electric shock that acts as a foil. This device was installed at Roches-Noires.
To catch, mark and study sharks, the people of Réunion use “drumlines”. These are fixed vertical lines with a single hook and a single bait. Equipped with acoustic listening stations and underwater cameras, the device aims to assess the frequentation of the area by sharks. It also makes it possible to verify its degree of deterrence on the population of sharks swimming near the coast. When a shark bites a hook, it is either tagged and released or removed.
In addition, bottom longlines, fixed lines placed at the bottom, can also be set.