Great white shark
Great white shark ELizabethHoffmann

Could these devices protect you from a shark attack?

DESPITE living for more than 400 million years, scientists are still discovering sharks are a complex species and their is no single deterrent method that will repel all attacks.

Researchers at the forefront of shark deterrent technology from the University of Western Australia, and now, NSW Primary Industries, Lands and Water minister, Niall Blair, have admitted there is no 'one size fits all species' model to deter sharks.

Mr Blair announced $200,000 in grants this week that were available for people who could invent shark deterrent technologies that may help prevent fatal attacks, such as those experienced on the NSW North Coast in recent years.

Here is a list of some of the deterrent and barrier methods, both in use and on trial, to protect beachgoers.

The Eco Shark Barrier - claims to provide an eco-friendly solution to shark mitigation using a nylon and plastic barrier that is anchored to the ocean floor and uses buoys to float on the surface. The Western Australian invention was to be installed at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach.

Shark nets - first deployed on Sydney's beaches in 1937, the submerged rope nets have been controversial since their inception due to their by-catch of marine life. Now shark nets are deployed off 51 of the most popular beaches between Newcastle and Woolongong from September to April.

Electronic shark repellants - claim to emit a small electrical current into the water which interferes with a sharks sensing organs. Products available include the Shark Shield, a two metre cord that trails behind the surfer, the No Shark, an ankle braclet that emaits an electronic charge and Surf Safe, a device where electrodes are inserted into a surfboard.

Magnetic shark repellants - overstimulate a sharks sensing organs in its snout, similar to electronic repellants. Sharkbanz and Shark Shocker are two products available that are worn on the wrist and the ankle.

Acoustic shark repellants - the Shark Stopper is a small plastic personal band, worn on the leg, that emits a 'multi-patented acoustic sound' which its inventor claims will repel sharks.

Shark spray repellants - Anti-Shark 100 is an aerosol spray that contains an extract of dead shark tissue, small enough to fit in a pocket or dive bag. The deterent is based on research that sharks don't like being around dead animals of their species.

Shark deterring wetsuits - Shark Attack Mitigation Systems have developed a camoflage wetsuit in shades of blue and a surfers wetsuit, with striped limbs resembling the markings of a banded sea snake, a toxic food for sharks. The companies aim was to design wetsiuts that weren't all black, making wearers look like seals.

For more information visit www.choice.com.au and search for shark repellants.



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