JUL 31, 2016 12:03 PM PDT

A Deterrent for Great White Sharks With 90% Effectiveness

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

One of the things that scares almost anyone about the ocean is the presence of sharks. Despite the fact that shark attacks are relatively uncommon, it’s a longing fear that you will get eaten by a shark in the middle of the ocean.
 

 
Product manufacturers for Shark Sheild have created a device called Freedom 7, which is essentially a wearable compact electric field device that can deter the presence of sharks. It can be had for $649 and can be worn on the leg or arm of SCUBA divers who want to mitigate the risk of deadly shark encounters.
 
Similar equipment has been available commercially since the 90’s and it’s been under development for some time for personal use, so how well does this kind of equipment work for the average simple-soul who wants to go SCUBA diving for fun?
 
In a paper available on PLOS ONE, researchers studied the effectiveness of the device, which can create essentially a 1-meter low-frequency electric force field. An underwater camera was placed near the device for the observation half of the experiment.
 
In the testing, scientists lured great white sharks near the electric field device with tasty treats, and once the device was switched on, sharks thought twice about even coming anywhere near the bait.
 

 
The first trial was very effective, and deterred 10 out of 10 sharks. In additional trials, the sharks learned tolerance and soon the device was found to deter 9 out of 10 sharks, which is still a 90% success rate.
 
The deterrent was effective even against sharks when something tasty was easily detectable in the water, which means that for SCUBA divers, which don’t really emit any kinds of ‘tasty’ scents under water, the device should prove relatively effective as a shark deterrent.
 
"Thanks to this research, we now know the exact electric field characteristics that will deter a white shark, but the success of the Shark Shield does not imply that other electric devices on the market will also be effective," lead researcher Ryan Kempster told Gizmag.
 
"In fact, not only may other devices not be as effective, but there is also the possibility that some devices may in fact attract sharks. As a result, we feel it is important that robust, scientific and independent evaluation of all shark deterrent devices, many of which are entering the market presently, is carried out so that the public can make more informed decisions about how they can reduce their risk of a negative interaction with a shark."
 
One thing that’s unknown is whether or not the device works across the species spectrum of sharks, or if it is only effective against the great white species in general. Nevertheless, if it decreases your chance of getting eaten by sharks by up to 90%, then it’s probably worth the investment.
 
It’s worth noting also that although Shark Shield may be an effective deterrent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that other market knock-offs are going to work too. In this case, the brand name Shark Shield works as advertised, but other companies’ competing products many not have been subjected to the same testing.
 
Source: Gizmag

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 09, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 09, 2020
Australian Bushfire Update
Devastating wildfires continue to ravage the continent of Australia. The report from BBC News below, which aired earlier this week, gives an encompassing u...
JAN 30, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 30, 2020
New Infrared Spectroscopic Method Grants Scientists Unprecedented "Seeing" Power
Infrared spectroscopy is a popular scientific method to identify and study molecules based on their absorption of infrared light. Scientists at the Max Pla...
FEB 01, 2020
Earth & The Environment
FEB 01, 2020
Cut the ozone, help the plants
Researchers from the University of Exeter report in Nature Climate Change their findings of a new "natural climate solution”: reducing emissions...
FEB 10, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 10, 2020
The Broken Genes of the Last Woolly Mammoths
Wooly mammoths are thought to have died out around 4,000 years ago in a remote area off the Siberian coast, called Wrangel Island....
FEB 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 24, 2020
These Pelicans Aren't After Fish
Pelicans are seabirds renowned for their unique bills, which encompass a rather discernible throat pouch that makes capturing and swallowing fish a cinch....
MAR 05, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 05, 2020
Molecule Found in Oranges Could Treat Obesity
Scientists at Western University isolated a molecule from oranges and sweet tangerines called ‘nobiletin’. Through the studies on mice the mole...
Loading Comments...