To reduce the risk of an interaction with a shark, surfers should consider using a personal deterrent.

Shark Management Strategy annual grant funded projects

A number of recipients of the Shark Management Strategy Annual Competitive Grants have investigated personal protection technologies.

Partner organisation: Flinders University

Funded in 2016/17, this study provided a detailed assessment (PDF, 1624.03 KB) of the efficiency and effect of several commercially available shark repellents by field testing them on White Sharks in South Australia. The sharks’ behavioural responses were documented to determine the extent to which the deterrent might deter a shark from biting someone wearing one of these devices.

Publication arising from research:
Huveneers C, Whitmarsh S, Thiele M, Meyer L, Fox A, Bradshaw CJA. (2018) Effectiveness of five personal shark-bite deterrents for surfers. PeerJ 6:e5554

Partner organisation: Macquarie University

Funded in 2016/17, this project will develop a quick and cost effective way to assess the effectiveness of personal electronic and magnetic shark deterrents so people can identify those devices likely to deter sharks and those which won’t, based on fundamental physical principles and basic shark neurobiology. It will complement the Flinders University project being done in South Australia.

Partner Organisations: Oceans Research, Shark Mitigation Systems, Macquarie University, Zoological Parks Board of NSW (Taronga Zoo)

Funded in 2017/18, this project will develop a new shark deterrent technology to protect surfers and paddlers. The project will build on our recent discovery that White Sharks do not attack counter-illuminated (light emitting) seal-shaped decoys, and use new information about shark vision to understand why this ‘camouflage’ is so successful.

Partner organisation: University of Wollongong

Funded in 2017/18, this project provides a superior tool for real-time personal shark detection by integrating aerial blimp-based reconnaissance, smart image recognition, and wireless wearable technology. The system will provide beach-goers with immediate information via smart apps, empowering lifesavers and beachgoers to prevent dangerous encounters with wildlife before it happens.

Partner organisation: Step Three

Funded in 2017/18, this project developed a waterproof wearable prototype (PDF, 143.27 KB) that communicates between a VR4G listening station and the wearer on the water.

Partner organisation: Byron Shire Council

Funded in 2017/18, this study developed a shark alert device prototype (PDF, 369.59 KB) to enable real-time information from SharkSmart app to be displayed by a warning light which is visible by water users.