Acoustic Listening Station
One of the key research objectives of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence is to gain a better understanding of the movement and residency patterns of potentially dangerous sharks along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. Of particular interest is how the movement patterns of sharks are related to environmental parameters such as water temperature. This information is crucial not only in minimizing the risk of shark attack at both netted and non-netted beaches, but also in enabling the Board to make informed decisions on the deployment and location of shark nets to reduce the catch of harmless animals.
To achieve this goal the Board is in the process of developing a project which will involve deploying a network of acoustic listening stations (Figure 1) and temperature loggers at strategic locations along its area of operations between Richards Bay and Port Edward and fitting sharks with acoustic transmitters. The tags emit a unique coded signal, which can be detected by the listening stations up to 1 km away. Data downloaded from the stations can then be used to build a picture of when and where sharks are occurring.