Aussie shark detector baits growing US shark population
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Shark attacks in the US are on the rise and Australia’s Smart Marine Systems — formerly Shark Mitigation Systems — is on the case.
Statistics from the US Shark Research Committee reported nine unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast last year — up from five the year before.
The report showed July was the most likely month for an incident, with those in a kayak 50 per cent more at risk – and it’s all down to a spike in the US shark population.
That’s bad news for Californians, but an opportunity for US-focused Smart Marine Systems (ASX:SM8). The US has “the highest number of negative interactions” with sharks in the world, it says.
Smart Marine is hoping to convince Orange County in California to commit to a $10 million rollout of its Clever Buoy system – a near-shore marine monitoring platform that uses sonar to detect sharks and send warnings onshore. Eight of those nine unprovoked shark attacks happened in California.
It also sells anti-shark swim gear and an automated “ocean cleaning device that catches floating rubbish, oil, fuel and detergents for ports and marinas”.
While the company reported a significant number of expressions of interest and a lunched a pilot program in September, sales are so far a little slow.
Smart Marine banked $16,000 in cash receipts last quarter — slightly up from $14,000 last quarter. It burned through $335,000.
But it won’t let a little blood in the water stop it.
“Formal support by US Federal Government representatives and the scale of the US market is an excellent endorsement of the technology,” it told the market.
“The company is focusing its resources on the Clever Buoy deployments in California to ensure the project’s success and is currently engaged with government agencies, private organisations and the local community on the first pilot installation at Corona Del Mar Beach.”
Shares in the company closed at 3.4c on Thursday.