The Great White Hope, a shark deterrent that works
Shark Shield has been independently confirmed as an effective shark deterrent with the research premiering on 60 Minutes and published in the international science journal PLOS ONE. The research found the Shark Shield™ FREEDOM7 to be almost 100 per cent effective.
The study analyzed 322 encounters involving 41 individual white sharks, ranging from 2m to 4m long. Upon first encounter with a Shark Shield, all approaching great white sharks were effectively deterred, staying an average of 1.3m away from a baited canister with the device attached.
After multiple approaches, individual great white sharks came an average of 12cm closer on each successive approach. Only one great white shark came into contact with the bait in the presence of an active Shark Shield, and only after multiple approaches. The interaction in question simply involved a bump of the bait canister rather than a full bite. In contrast, bites were common during control trials.
The research was conducted over a two and half year period at a cost of $680,000 funded by the Western Australian State Government as part of its investment in Shark Hazard Mitigation, following a spate of shark attacks in 2012. The testing was carried out at the great white hotspot, South Africa’s Mossel Bay, involving the University of Western Australia, Flinders University and Oceans Research in South Africa.
Lead researcher Dr Ryan Kempster stated, “The fact that white sharks are implicated in the majority of fatal incidents globally suggests that a deterrent that effectively deters this species should be an important safety consideration for ocean users.” “We also found no evidence that the Shark Shield attracted sharks from further away, which is a common myth among surfers”. Great whites were recorded in 68 per cent of the trials when it was not turned on, whereas only 27 per cent of active trials had great whites present.
Lindsay Lyon, Managing Director of Shark Shield™ stated, “This is the third independent scientific research paper proving Shark Shield™ effectively turns sharks away, supporting our positioning as the world’s only scientifically proven and independently tested electrical shark deterrent. This peer-reviewed paper shows adventure sport participants can remove risk in activities like diving, spearfishing, kayaking and surfing.”
Tom Carroll, a 2 x World Surfing Champion and rated by Surfer Magazine as the #7 top surfer of all time, has been working with Shark Shield over the past two years designing the same technology into a new surfboard shark deterrent, without impacting surfing performance. Tom stated, “Whilst the real risks are low, surfers are in the highest risk group and the new FREEDOM+ Surf will enable surfers to enjoy their ocean adventures”. The new surf product is shipping in September 2016 in partnership with Ocean & Earth.
“Seat belts have been proven to save lives by reducing risk, without doubt Shark Shield™ products have been proven to reduce risk, so buckle up and wear one on your next adventure,” added Lyon.