As some of you may have noticed I am interested in everything to do with the sea from sea-life to water-sports. Recently I posted how the Australian public are notified by Twitter of the location of sharks when they get too close to the Australian coastline. The presence of sharks in the water is a major deterrent for many people, which prevents them trying new activities such as surfing or scuba diving, but this may soon change.
The other day I was looking through surfing websites, when I came across an article, where scientists have designed wetsuits that supposedly deter sharks. If this is the case this is a major break- through and will hopefully reduce the amount of fatalities and deaths that happen each year. It will also reduce the indiscriminate killing of sharks. The new designs can be seen below:
Professor Shaun Collin and Professor Nathan Hart have been studying shark’s vision for a number of years and are considered the world’s leading authority. They made a number of significant discoveries relating to sharks, they discovered that sharks see in black and white. When sharks are hunting they use a number of senses to locate their prey and vision also plays a vital role in the final stage of an attack. The scientists suggest that by disrupting a shark’s visual perception, an attack can either be diverted altogether or at least delayed to allow the victim time to exit the water.
Shark attack mitigation systems also know as SAMS have been working with the University of Western Australia for a number years and has translated the scientific data into a range of shark deterrent designs.
The two design variations either present the wearer as potentially dangerous and unpalatable to a shark, or make it very difficult for the shark to see the wearer in the water. The shark deterrent technology can be applied to products such as wetsuits, skins and stickers for diving air tanks, surfboards, kayaks, skis and more. I think these new designs are pretty cool and would have no problem wearing one if I was surfing in warmer waters than the cold Irish waters.
There is also discussion about the shark shields that have been developed for surfboards. How this works is all predatory sharks have highly sensitive electrical receptors called “Ampullae of Lorenzini” located in their snouts. These tiny gel filled sacs can only sense electrical current from prey at very close distances. A powerful but localised electrical field is generated by Shark Shield devices and causes the sharks gel filled sacs to spasm and the shark to flee the immediate area. There are no known long term adverse effects to the shark and as a result Shark Shield devices support the conservation of sharks by removing the need for culling or other lethal means of managing human and shark interactions.
They are now developing surfboards with the shark shield built into the fins. The new surfboard shark deterrent will revolutionize the surfing industry and is the first major innovation in surfing since the thruster and removable fins from FCS. Everyone will again be able to confidently surf any break without the intimidation or fear of sharks. These new innovation are meant to have no impact on current surfboard manufacturing or the shaping design processes and zero to minimal impact on surfboard performance. Not only will the new deterrent protect the surfer, but multiple surfers will create a virtual electronic shark barrier. The surfers will appear like an electronic mine field to sharks so all beach goers will benefit from this innovation too. How the electronic shark deterrent works is that is consists of two electrodes that use salt water as a conductor between the two, creating an electrical field that deters sharks.