Calls for more shark tech after flurry of SA attacks
A spate of shark attacks off South Australian beaches has led to calls for more investment in shark deterrent technology, including tagging and beacons.
A concerning spike in serious shark attacks off the coast of South Australia has sparked calls for the state government to do more to track and deter potential maneaters.
Flinders University student Bridgette O'Shannessy became the third victim of a serious shark attack in South Australian waters in just over a month when she was bitten on the face while diving off Port Noarlunga jetty in Adelaide on Friday.
An SA Health spokesperson on Monday told AAP the 32-year-old remains in a stable condition at Flinders Medical Centre.
Surf Life Saving SA chief executive Damien Marangon recommended a comprehensive management plan, including tagging sharks and deploying beacons along the coast, to prevent sharks approaching beaches.
"We've seen these systems implemented with success along the east coast in popular areas like Bondi Beach in Sydney," Mr Marangon said.
The organisation's new Geographic Information System and State Operations Centre would also play a key role in data tracking and assist in the deployment of resources and assets to monitor and manage shark responses.
Mr Marangon acknowledged there is likely to be a level of heightened anxiety given the recent increase in bites, but said shark sightings are rare and attacks even rarer.
Pamela Cook, 64, suffered serious leg injuries after being bitten by a shark at Beachport on SA's southeast coast on October 2 and 55-year-old Tod Gendle was taken by a suspected great white while surfing at Granites Beach on the west coast later that month.
His surfboard was all that remained of the attack, witnesses said.
The popular Port Noarlunga jetty in Adelaide was the scene of the latest shark attack.
The incidents follow the suspected fatal attack of 46-year-old teacher Simon Baccanello in May who disappeared without a trace while surfing at Walkers Rock Beach, about 365km west of Adelaide.
Eastern states like NSW currently use a range of shark mitigation measures, including drone surveillance, tagging and Smart drumlines, which use bait hooks to catch sharks that are then tagged and released back into the wild.
Mr Marangon advised against using shark nets, warning they would unintentionally trap other marine life and require significant resources to maintain.
"We believe a broader tracking, surveillance and mitigation strategy, led by SLSSA with the support of the state government, will provide a more wholistic and safer solution to beachgoers and other marine life," he said.
Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson urged the state government to subsidise the rollout of personal shark deterrent devices for surfers, swimmers and divers.
The measure has already been implemented in Western Australia, where the government has subsidised more than 4000 devices.
"Safety in our oceans and the protection of vulnerable species, such as white sharks, aren't binary options," Senator Whish-Wilson said.
"Both are possible and can be done much more effectively."
A South Australian government spokesperson said the state will commence fixed-wing aerial patrols from December but does not currently use drumlines or tagging to manage sharks.
"The state government will continue to monitor the situation to see if any improvements to our prevention methods need to be made," the spokesperson said.