Friday, May 14, 2010

Shark shield : a new device to protect divers and surfers from sharks

Australian Navy has approved the use of an Adelaide designed electronic shark deterrent following an attack on one of its divers last year.

The Adelaide-based Shark Shield company said the Navy accreditation and clearance followed seven months of testing after able seaman Paul de Gelder was attacked by a shark during a training exercise in Sydney Harbour in February, 2009 and lost his right hand and right leg in the attack.

The basic Shark Shield device weighs about 380 grams and is small enough to fit into a person's hand. Another version has been designed to be fitted to surfboards.

The Australian Navy approval should spark an increase in international and local orders for the Shark Shield technology, the company said.

Chairman Grant Price said the device emits electric impulses that cause great discomfort to sharks.
Sharks have hundreds of electro-receptors in their snouts, which pick up the minute electrical impulses emitted by living creatures in the water.
A Shark Shield emits impulses of greater intensity which cause sharks discomfort at a range of up to 8m.

If the shark moves further into the field they experience muscle spasms that are enough to deter an attack.

Mr Price said the Navy had chosen the Shark Shield as the most effective technology available.

"The Navy tested our product under a variety of conditions for seven months and has found it meets all criteria to improve the safety of its divers," he said.

"We are receiving enormous international interest in our device and expect general inquiries to translate to firm agreements as it becomes known that the Australian Navy relies on our technology.

"We are also hoping to extend the relationship with the Navy to supply Shark Shield to other military personnel."

Mr Price said Australia was known to have some of the most shark-populated waters on the planet, so what was seen to work in Australia had international credibility.

The device could also be used for swimmers, kayakers and fishers.

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