SEACAMS: Development, deployment and operation
A South Eastern Australian Coastal Acoustic Monitoring System (SEACAMS) has been set up by the NSW Department of Primary Industries as part of reproductive research on grey nurse sharks. The system comprises 60 acoustic listening stations deployed at various sites along the NSW coast, from the Victorian to Queensland borders. Each listening station consists of an acoustic receiver and temperature logger attached to a bottom-set mooring at a rocky reef. The number of listening stations deployed at any given site varies depending on a number of factors including the usage of the site by grey nurse sharks, depth, currents and topography. Grey nurse sharks have been tagged with R-coded acoustic tags with temperature and depth sensors enabling their localised and migratory movements to be documented in relation to their reproductive cycle. Technological advances in acoustic tags have meant that their size and weight have decreased markedly, and species such as snapper, kingfish and mulloway can now be tagged with ease. Hence, SEACAMS can also provide the means to document the localised and migratory movements of various commercially and recreationally important fish. However, the use of this system has very real operational constraints. These will be discussed together with the requirements for collaborative research in the future.