New automated shark detection project launched

Cape Town - 190211 - New research project from Shark Spotters and PatternLab aimed at developing an automated shark spotting system - In pic, Dr Krzysztof Kryszczuk - Picture: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)
The Shark Spotters have launched a project aimed at developing a low-cost computer-aided vision automatic shark detection algorithm to be used on fixed cameras above Cape Town beaches.

The Shark Spotters programme has significantly improved water user safety at its operating beaches in Cape Town, recording over 2 500 shark sightings since its inception in 2004.

The development of the automated shark spotting system will help to overcome some of the limitations the programme currently experiences, including the need for natural elevation and the potential for human fatigue and error.

Field work for the project has begun on Fish Hoek Beach and involves collecting footage of sharks for analysis and development of the cutting-edge detection algorithm software.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said: “Shark Spotters have been at the forefront of sustainable shark bite mitigation measures worldwide since it started in 2004. We are excited by the new possibilities that this automated shark spotting research project presents and hope it will result in a system that enhances shark safety at beaches across the city.”

The research project will run for a total of 18 months after which it is anticipated an effective automated shark spotting system will have been developed for use in Cape Town and beyond.