Shark Sonar Being Tested Off Southern California Coast - NBC 7 San Diego
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Shark Sonar Being Tested Off Southern California Coast

The high-tech shark monitoring system certainly got the attention of surfers at Beacon's Beach in Encinitas

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    A high-tech effort to stop shark attacks before they happen involves a sonar system now in place in Newport Beach. 

    The high-tech shark monitoring system certainly got the attention of surfers at Beacon's Beach in Encinitas, where two weeks ago, a 13-year old boy was injured in a great white attack.

    There have been a growing number of shark sightings in Southern California waters.

    "Every animal in the ocean has a fingerprint,” said Craig Anderson with Smart Marine Systems. “And its fingerprint is the way it swims.”

    Anderson is behind a high tech monitoring system called the Clever Buoy.

    It uses sonar anchored to the ocean floor which in real time, can analyze the swim pattern of any animal that enters a 500-yard area.

    The primary target: Sharks.

    “Once it decides there is a high probability that it's a shark, then it sends information about its location, it's size, and the direction it's swimming into the lifeguards,” Anderson said.

    His system is part of a two-month pilot program. The technology is being tested in Newport Beach near the Balboa Pier.

    “I think it's cool if it’s keeping people safer, there's a lot more activity these days due to climate change,” surfer April Mirvis said when we caught up with her in Encinitas.

    “I don’t feel like I'm normally on their diet plan, so and maybe that's a naive point of view, but that's probably how most of us operate, So, more information is a good thing,” said surfer Jeff Manuel.

    University of San Diego researchers say that, while shark sightings are becoming more frequent off the California coast, it is extremely rare for anyone in the world to be bitten.

    The monitoring system will be tested through November. City leaders will then evaluate its effectiveness and ultimately decide whether this becomes a new tool in the battle between humans and shark. 

    On September 29, a 13-year-old boy diving for lobster at Beacon's Beach was bitten on the arm, ear, shoulder and back. 

    Nearby kayakers, an off-duty police officer and an off-duty lifeguard rushed to the boy's side and got him to shore. 

    It was later determined through DNA that the animal that attacked the teenager was a great white shark.

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