Cape Cod 5

Infrastructure Committee: Sharks

In light of the fatal shark attack this month, and the spread of shark activity, the Infrastructure Committee discussed how the Tech Council might be helpful in addressing these issues. In both incidents people had to reach the top of the bluff to get cell service. In the fatal attack, a doctor was quoted as saying the response time was 20-25 minutes, which was too long.

The issues we face are detection and response time. Town administrators are looking at possibilities, including additional cellphone service. Steve Johnson of Open Cape has been in contact with the Cape and Islands Delegation and with the National Seashore. He’s also spoken to the CEO of Clever Buoy, from Australia.

Clever Buoy is a marine monitoring platform developed by Smart Marine Systems. Steve reported that resorts in Australia are putting them in to protect their private beaches, and that a five-buoy system is being installed at Newport Beach as a pilot program.

Other systems rely on tagging, which gives a false sense of security as an estimated 5% are tagged. According to Clever Buoy, drones have trouble seeing the mature sharks because they swim deeper.

Considering the impact shark activity could have on our economy, the goal is to find a combination of local, state, and federal dollars to address both mitigation and connectivity.

The recent attack has attracted national attention. What we want to determine is how the Tech Council can assist without duplicating efforts. If the organizations taking the lead – Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, etc. – are looking for technology solutions, the Tech Council may be helpful in gathering information for them. In addition to the work Steve Johnson has already done, two committee members offered to reach out to organizations to see where they stand and what they are doing. Then, the committee will make a recommendation to the board, identifying a role we might play. Former Tech Council board member Bob Dwyer, Executive Director of Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, has also offered help. The museum has been very active in shark education.

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