Twitter has become such a big part of daily life. How big has it become? Researchers in Australia recently outfitted over 300 sharks with monitoring devices that will notify followers of a tagged shark’s location, according to Surfrider Foundation. When one of these sharks comes within half a mile of Australia’s western shorelines a “tweet” will be sent out with its location. “Yes, sharks just joined Twitter,” said Jeff Mull of SURFER magazine.
Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s (WA) current 28,000+ twitter followers will receive an alert via a tweet that one of the tagged sharks has come near the shore. In addition to shark locations, the account will also list hazardous beach and ocean conditions and sometimes the size and breed of the shark in question as well.
“The tagging system alerts beachgoers far quicker than traditional warnings,” Chris Peck, operations manager of Surf Life Saving Western Australia told Sky News. “Now it’s instant information. People don’t have an excuse to say we’re not getting the information. It’s about whether you are searching for it and finding it.”
Another benefit of the tagging program is that scientists will have the opportunity and information to better understand movement patterns of sharks in Western Australia. “These detections and WA’s extensive receiver network are contributing to important research to help the Government to better understand the movements of white sharks through WA waters, as well as playing a major public safety role,” said Dr. Rory McAuley of the Department of Fisheries.
Western Australia has a reputation of high fatal shark attacks, and this tagging program coupled with Twitter is met with much favor. Over the last two years more than six deaths by shark attack have occurred in WA waters.
“While being able to stay up to date on the shark’s locations via Twitter may be a novel idea, it’s wise to remember that only 338 sharks in the area have been tagged,” said Hull.
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