SAN DIEGO - Protecting surfers and swimmers from sharks could be a tweet away. A research team tagged hundreds of sharks in Australia and is tweeting people when they come close to shore.
Biologists at UC San Diego say shark sightings are up worldwide and beachgoers admit knowing what is lurking underwater would help keep them safe.
"It would be cool to know if there was a shark near me," one beachgoer told 10News.
Researchers have tagged more than 300 sharks in western Australia with a transmitter. When the shark swims within a half mile of shore, an acoustic receiver picks up the shark's signal.
"Now they're being wired and reconfigured to a server where you can transmit this data in real time," said UCSD marine biologist Dr. Andy Nosal.
The data is now being sent out in tweets by Surf Life Saving Western Australia. The alert gives the location, size and breed of the shark.
Nosal is not part of the project but tracks sharks in San Diego. He says while informing the public is a good thing, the system could create a sense of false security for beachgoers.
"You don't want people to not receive a tweet and think that it's safe and there's not sharks there," he said.
Researchers at Cal State Long Beach say sending out tweets about marine life in Southern California could happen as early as this summer. They say the tweets will be used more for educational purposes and less as a warning system.