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

Shark Management Strategy grant funded projects

A number of recipients of the Shark Management Strategy 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 developed a quick and cost effective way to assess the effectiveness of personal electronic shark deterrents (PDF, 1389.74 KB) to enable people to identify those devices likely to deter sharks and those which won’t, based on fundamental physical principles and basic shark neurobiology. It complements the Flinders University project conducted 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 demonstrated an innovative tool for real-time personal shark detection by integrating aerial blimp-based reconnaissance, smart image recognition, and wireless wearable technology. The system provided beach-goers with immediate information via smart apps, empowering lifesavers and beachgoers to prevent dangerous encounters with wildlife before it happens.

Publication arising from research:

Gorkin, R.; Adams, K.; Berryman, M.J.; Aubin, S.; Li, W.; Davis, A.R.; Barthelemy, J. Sharkeye: Real-Time Autonomous Personal Shark Alerting via Aerial Surveillance. Drones 2020, 4, 18.

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: Flinders University

Funded in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, this study compared standard wetsuit neoprene material to  10 different lightweight fabrics that were incorporated on top or on either side of neoprene material or bonded in between multiple layers of neoprene to determine This study found that the materials increased the resistance to shark bites which may reduce injuries from shark interactions.

Publication arising from research:

Whitmarsh SK, Amin DB, Costi JJ, Dennis JD, Huveneers C (2019) Effectiveness of novel fabrics to resist punctures and lacerations from white shark (Carcharodon carcharias): Implications to reduce injuries from shark bites. PLoS ONE 14(11): e0224432.