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New Shark Detection Technology to be Unveiled in Newport Beach on Wednesday

Oct 8, 2018

NEWPORT BEACH – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, will be on hand 11 a.m. Wednesday, October 10, at the Balboa Pier to help introduce a pilot project that detects sharks swimming in local waters. The technology was developed and is used in Australia. The Republican congressman has actively supported its adoption in this country.

“My district,” said Rohrabacher, “is known worldwide for its beautiful beaches and its devoted surfer community. As my fellow beach lovers know, the rising incidence of shark attacks in our coastal waters has made our recreation more treacherous. Anxiety over shark attacks has significantly reduced the enjoyment of our beaches and, indeed, has deterred our vital tourism industry. I welcome any technology that can identify the presence of sharks and swiftly notify lifeguards so that swimmers and surfers will be alerted to danger and return to shore."

The specific technology was developed by the Australian firm Smart Marine Systems, which will be represented Wednesday by international surfing champion Ian Cairns. The system places special sonar devices underwater, and, using digital identification imagery, alerts lifeguards to the arrival of sharks. The lifeguards in turn send out warning alarms to beachgoers.

Following the pilot project, the technology must win final approval by the California Coastal Commission and other government agencies.