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Sharks send tweets when they're near the beach

Scientists in Western Australia have found a way, essentially, to have sharks to advise, via Twitter, when they're close to the beach. Above, a juvenile great white shark that was caught off the Manhattan Beach Pier in 2012.
Scientists in Western Australia have found a way, essentially, to have sharks to advise, via Twitter, when they're close to the beach. Above, a juvenile great white shark that was caught off the Manhattan Beach Pier in 2012. Photo by: Eric Martin / Roundhouse Aqua

Worried about sharks? You might want to check Twitter before you get in the water.

Australian scientists have tagged over 300 sharks, including great whites, with transmitters that trigger an automatic tweet to the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed when the tagged sharks are within a mile of the beach.

The tweet gives the shark’s size, breed and location.

A recent shark tweet sent Thursday reads:

“Fisheries advise: 1.8m shark spotted at Hamelin Bay 20m offshore. Unknown species.”

Another shark tweeted on Thursday:

“Fisheries advise: 4.5 m white shark sighted at Riceys surf break on North side of Rottnest Island at 1254pm today.”

Chris Peck, operations manager of Surf Life Saving Western Australia, says using Tweeter is the fastest way to let people know a shark is in the area.

“You might not have got some information until the following day, in which case the hazard has long gone and the information might not be relevant,” Peck said.

“Now it’s instant information and really 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.”

More fatal shark attacks occur in Australia than any other country. The most recent fatality was in November.

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Debra Schroeder is a freelance writer and the founder of the Traveling Well For Less blog. You can follow her on Twitter @TravelingWellfl