Operation Apex Harmony
Through investigation and documentation, Apex Harmony sheds much-needed light on the destructive nature of state-sanctioned shark control programs — bringing our message to the public and empowering Australians to help protect sharks and other marine life.
Around the world, shark mitigation strategies that do not harm delicate marine ecosystems are being explored. Sea Shepherd is advocating for a transition to non-lethal technologies guided by science to both increase safety and protect ocean life, such as the examples listed below.
Aerial Drones in the Hands of Beach Safety Experts
Aerial drones can serve as an important tool for reducing the risk of shark bites on our beaches. Flying autonomously, drones can monitor beaches by continuously scanning for sharks with image recognition software.
Shark-detecting drones are already being trialled on New South Wales beaches as part of that state's shark management strategy, allowing for real-time monitoring of popular coastal areas.
Sea Shepherd is advocating for a move to equip Surf Living Saving branches with drones from Government grants. Such a program would be managed by those already expert in beach safety, utilise proven technology and be flexible enough to cover flagged beaches and surf breaks. This would provide a positive story for tourism and importantly, not harm sharks or other marine wildlife.
Where wave energy is low and drones may not be utilised, barrier technology such as the Eco Shark Barrier, a proven Western Australian development, may be used to form a complete enclosure, from seabed to surface and protect swimmers. The unique design of the Eco Shark Barrier creates a safe swimming area that blends into its surrounding environment.
Education and outreach about shark behaviour are fundamental means of helping to protect swimmers.
By knowing that sharks are more active in certain places, like river mouths, and at dawn and dusk, the potential for encountering a shark can be minimised - helping to keep our beaches safer as well as protecting sharks. Sea Shepherd recommends signage programs in order to educate the public on shark behaviour and the low risk of shark-human interactions.
Personal Protection Devices
Personal protection devices such as the 'Shark Shield': a personal electronic device that creates an electromagnetic field may be used to deter shark incidents.
Many new technologies are expensive to produce, test, and trial under scientific conditions. Therefore, Government has a role to assist in at least the scientific testing and trialling phases. Subsidies go a long way to helping reduce unit costs as the technologies become affordable on a wide scale. This has been done for a broad range of products that benefit people and industry, and should be extended to these devices. This approach can greatly benefit local developers, businesses and of course end-users.
New technologies are emerging, and should be explored as a means to an effective shark bite mitigation system.
Shark Spotters is one such successful program. “Shark Spotters” is a network of human spotters who spend time surveying and monitoring the ocean for shark movements. This program has great benefits for the community both in the water and ashore.