SMS confirms sharks are moving in for the US summer, shares jump 43pc
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Shark deterrent specialists Smart Marine Systems has ticked another box as it progresses towards convincing Californians it can better protect them from shark attacks.
Formerly Shark Mitigation Systems, Smart Marine Systems (ASX: SM8) has a product, Clever Buoy, that works on the principle that prevention (warning people about sharks) is better than the cure (killing all the sharks).
It’s a marine monitoring platform that autonomously distinguishes large sharks from other species and sends a warning to shore that there’s a potentially deadly predator sharing the water with humans nearby.
SMS has been chipping away for a year now trying to convince various beachside locales in California to implement its early warning system.
It hasn’t gone all that well. About a year ago, SMS shares hit around 4c as it rolled out its first pilot installation at Corona Del Mar beach.
It’s hoping to convince Orange County to commit to a $10 million contract.
It even shelled out to get a couple of big names on board in Bondi lifeguard and media personality Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins and “Vladimir Putin’s favourite congressman” Dana Rohrabacher to support the trial.
It’s still a work in progress, but a three-month trial ended with an official installation of Clever Buoy off Balboa Beach Pier, in Newport Beach in October.
Now the results are in from the first 100 days of that trial and SMS can confirm “the presence of sharks and substantial marine life”.
Lifeguards at the beach were provided with “real-time marine life and environmental data via a dedicated mobile application and a detailed desktop portal”.
Here’s what that looks like:
More importantly, as summer approaches in the US, Clever Buoy has picked up on an increase in marine life levels, including a “significant volume of shark activity”.
A public survey on the technology has returned widespread support. According to SMS, 95 per cent of respondents indicated “that they felt safer recreating at a beach with a Clever Buoy installed and 93 per cent requested the technology to be expanded to additional locations in California”.
SMS is now confident enough to report that it is “looking forward to a formal position being concluded” with officials at council meetings in the coming weeks.
It also coincides with an unfortunate increase in awareness about the dangers of swimming with sharks on the other side of the US.
At Cape Cod in October last year, a man was killed off Newcomb Hollow Beach. Arthur Medici, 26, was the state’s first victim of a fatal shark attack since 1936.
Following that tragedy – and another non-fatal attack in the region – SMS was invited to present its Clever Buoy to the Cape Cod community.
SMS says the community has taken the issue into its own hands, forming a local action group to raise funds for Clever Buoy deployment in Cape Cod this summer.
It’s a start, finally. SMS shares hit a low of 1.3c last week, but the trial news bumped it up 43pc to 2.3c this afternoon:
But SMS has its eye on more than 3000 patrolled beaches across the US it says could potentially be in need of “non-invasive safety solutions”.