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
DEC 06, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 06, 2019
Invasive Mussels are Taking Over Australia's Coastlines
Any type of organism that is not native to a location but ends up there anyway is considered an invasive species....
DEC 08, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 08, 2019
What's Inside a Pufferfish May Surprise You
Pufferfish are among one of the most easily discernable fish in the ocean, especially when inflated. But do you know how these little fish are able to expa...
DEC 30, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 30, 2019
Chinese Scientists Implant Genes for Human Intelligence in Monkeys
Scientists from China and the US have implanted a human gene linked to intelligence in the genomes of macaque monkeys. The first experiment of its kind, th...
JAN 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 12, 2020
This is Why You Shouldn't Mess With Beached Whales
When large whales die, one of two things can happen: 1) their bodies can sink to the bottom of the ocean and go on to support smaller life forms; or 2) the...
JAN 21, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 21, 2020
After Hibernation, These Grizzlies Turn to Clams for Nourishment
Grizzly bears spend up to seven Wintery months hibernating, and in that time, they can lose a substantial amount of their body weight. While surrounding ma...
FEB 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 09, 2020
Horned Lizards Are Great Predators, But Also at Avoiding Predation
There are at least 17 known species of horned lizard belonging to the genus Phrynosoma, but the giant horned lizard (Phrynosoma asio) is the largest of the...
Loading Comments...