Automated Shark Spotting Project leader Dr Krzysztof Kryszczuk explains the features of the new system. Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A new research project known as Automated Shark Spotting was unveiled on Monday at the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Education Centre, Kalk Bay.

The automatic shark detection system has been established with the collaboration of PatternLab, to make the job of spotting sharks in the sea a lot easier.

The project began in 2014 and this newly launched shark spotting technology, with the use of a fixed camera, was created only about eight months ago.

The project was funded through Euro stars and will be administered by the Department of Science and technology.

The shark-spotting system can predict where the shark is moving in the water and what it plans to do by using a fixed camera that can be installed on a pole or tower.

New research project from Shark Spotters and PatternLab aimed at developing an automated shark spotting system - Shark Spotter, Liesel Benjamin on Boyes Drive, Muizenberg. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“The programme reduces the spatial overlap between people and sharks, which is essentially people and sharks sharing the same space,” said Sarah Waries, chief executive of the shark-spotting project.

“The shark spotters project has been operating for 15 years where the spotters would patrol the beaches every day from 8am ’til 5pm, therefore this system will be a major support system for shark spotters by reducing the exhaustion they feel after hours of searching for sharks with binoculars,” said Dr Krzysztof Kryszczuk, leader of the project.

“The shark-spotting system helps with avoiding human error due to human fatigue.

"If we can detect the sharks better, then we can reduce the risk of swimmers being bitten, and the system also provides a sensation of being safe for the people who visit the beach.”

Kryszczuk said the system had no negative confirmations of sightings, only positive.

“It also creates job opportunities, as 46 people have already been employed through the programme.”

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Cape Argus