43ºF

How well do shark repellents work?

Research looks at effectiveness of 5 devices

VIDEO: One day after Arthur churned the waves off our coast, a surfing contest was underway. The competition called Surf N' Enjoy is sponsored by Hurley and is a friendly surf session for learning and riding.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The best shark deterrent devices fail to be 100 percent effective and new research shows some devices do little to prevent a shark encounter.

Shark bites in north Florida happen occasionally when predator mistakes prey accidentally involving surfers.

Some protects are on the market that claim to repel sharks but little research has proven anything until now.

A shark ecologist at Flinders University in Australia has published a rigorous peer-reviewed test on 5 different shark repellent devices and found some products affected shark behavior in a manner that could reduce the risk of a shark bite, while others did not have the advertised outcome. 

The winner was the Austrialian Freedom+ Surf electronic surfboard device.

In a baited test to lure great White sharks, the Freedom+Surf reduced the percentage of times the shark took the bait from 96 to 40.

Other methods like surfboard wax scented with chemicals, however, had little or no measurable effect on great white shark behavior.

Products relying on permanent magnets are designed to overload the electromagnet sense of sharks but neither the SharkBanz bracelet or the leash affected the behavior of white sharks or reduced the percentage of baits taken. 

Magnets are unlikely to be effective at deterring sharks because they will only protect close to the magnet.

Stronger magnets could be more effective but would add weight to a surfboard reducing performance.

 

 

 

 


About the Author: