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Australia taps Twitter to alert beach-goers of incoming shark threats

Australia taps Twitter to alert beach-goers of incoming shark threats


We're going to need a bigger tweet

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You may be able to see a Sharknado from miles away, but not necessarily the creatures lurking right off the beach. To solve that, Australia's using transmitters attached to some 320 sharks, and Twitter, to warn beach-goers when big sharks are near. That's only if those sharks get within a kilometer or so of major beaches, where they can become a threat to swimmers who are mistaken for a meal. The system's designed to alert swimmers before they get in the water, as well as lifeguards and other beach patrols.

More than 320 sharks tagged to tweet

The program sends messages from the Surf Life Saving Western Australia's Twitter account, and includes information about the sharks, reports Sky News. That includes the particular species, how large it was at the time it was last tagged, and how far off shore it is from any particular beach. Sometimes these alerts even come with a photo if an aerial sighting has been made.

The western portion of Australia has been home to numerous shark attacks over the past decade, an issue that became more heated following the death of surfer Chris Boyd earlier this year. That incident, and others like it, led local government to bait hooks in order to catch some of the larger sharks. In some cases those sharks are killed, which has caused a stir with both marine biologists and environmental groups who have questioned its efficacy.