University of Western Australia (UWA) researchers have given the Shark Shield a green signal, which comes as a relief to divers and surfers after the recent spate of shark attacks in Australia. During the testing phase, the Shark Shield effectively turned the great white sharks away, nine out of 10 times. The success of this research may help in the development of new electrical shark deterrent technologies in the future.
The independent peer-reviewed research paper was published in the international science journal PLOS ONE. The study was conducted over a two-and-a-half-year period with a cost of $680,000, funded by the Western Australian State Government as part of its investment in Shark Hazard Mitigation.
The team of scientists -- led by UWA’s Oceans Institute and the School of Animal Biology researchers professor Shaun Collin, associate professor Nathan Hart and Dr. Ryan Kempster -- also analysed other electric shark deterrents. They also explored and tested new ways to deter sharks from attacking, such as bubbles, bright flashing lights and underwater sounds.
“This is the third independent scientific research paper proving Shark Shield to be the only device that effectively turns sharks away. This peer-reviewed paper shows adventure sport participates can remove up to 90 percent of the risk in activities like diving, spearfishing, kayaking and surfing. This removes all doubt about the efficacy of Shark Shield’s proven technology,” managing director of Shark Shield, Lindsay Lyon, stated in a press release.
The Shark Shield emits an electrical wave and it proved to be effective for a field with a radius of 1.3 metres from the device's electrodes. On the first approach, the device prevented the great white sharks from interacting with the bait 10 out of 10 times. The rate slightly dropped to nine out of 10 due to the sharks getting used to the electronic waves. However, despite an increase in tolerance, the sharks did not bite or interact with the bait.
“This device is no guarantee of 100 per cent protection from any species of shark but at present, but under the conditions under which we tested it, the Shark Shield is the most effective shark deterrent device currently on the market,” Collin told WAtoday.