Sharks on Twitter (Surf Life Saving WA)

Government researchers in Western Australia have tagged almost 340 sharks since 2011 with acoustic transmitters that trigger a computer alert onshore when one of the tagged sharks is within half a mile from a beach. Once an alert is received, a tweet is automatically generated and transmitted from the Surf Life Saving WA (Western Australia) account. The tweet contains information on the shark’s size, breed, and approximate location. This innovation, and the rapidity at which information is transmitted, is a boon for surfers and beachgoers in Australia, which experiences more fatal shark attacks than any other country. No longer is a lack of readily available information an issue; now, Surf Life Saving can help ensure the safety of the public and the sharks. Researchers, likewise, can monitor shark activity and breed along Western Australia’s coast and use that information to inform research on the health of individual species. 

It is important to note that not every shark is tagged; this is currently unfeasible given the long migratory routes of sharks. Accordingly, the Government of Australia cautions users that they should not feel a false sense of security from this technology, but rather view it as one of many tools to stay safe at the beach. 

To see the tweets themselves, click here.

Mandurah Mail. (2017, May 17). “Beach-goers urged to use caution with shark notification system temporarily offline.” 

Yu, Alan. (2014, Jan. 1). “More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter.” 


Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Data, Ecological Monitoring, Internet of Things, Lifestyle, Monitoring