Technology

Mon, 4 Feb, 2019Courtney Allan

The new shark repellent technology that could curb attacks in Australia

The new shark repellent technology that could curb attacks in Australia

New Australian technology could be the key to preventing shark attacks in the Whitsunday Islands.

Tourism operators are considering every option available before deciding whether or not to employ the Aussie-made devices to prevent further attacks.

The Shark Shield technology is a shark repelling device that’s designed for usage with boats and is designed by a company called Ocean Guardian.

The technology aims to repel sharks by using a large electrical field that aims to keep swimmers and snorkelers safe from sharks.

The chief executive of Ocean Guardian, Lindsay Lyon, has said that the technology available creates a larger area that’s safer for people to swim in.

“It creates an electrical field anywhere from 8m to 10m deep, and about 6m to 8m wide, so you can swim off the back of the boat without having to be fearful of sharks,” Mr Lyon said.

“This could absolutely save lives. The technology is rock solid.”

Lyon has also said that the new generation of shark-repelling technology could help stem the amount of attacks.

“It’s extremely unfortunate what happened in the Whitsundays,” Lyon said. “It hasn’t happened for 50 years and all of a sudden there was a spate of attacks.

“The reality is that the risk is low and if we can provide technology that is scientifically proven to work and give people the confidence to go back to enjoying the ocean without culling sharks, that’s a good thing.”

Despite Lyon’s excitement that his technology will help save the lives of swimmers, Flinders University associate professor Charlie Huveneers, who leads the Southern Shark Ecology Group, has a warning about electrical fields and sharks.

“Just because one device is working, it does not mean that all electric field-based deterrents will repel sharks,” Professor Huveneers said.

“Any new device should be independently and scientifically tested prior to being commercially available. People might otherwise get a false sense of security and put themselves at greater risks.”

But Professor Huveneers said it was “important to keep developing new means of reducing the risk of shark attacks”.

“As long as people go in the water, there will always be some very small risks from sharks,” he added.

Will this device make you feel safer when you’re in the water? Let us know in the comments.