Introduction

Introduction

The Sharksafe Barrier TM is a product that has been developed to ensure the safety of beach goers from shark attacks, to prevent the loss of tourism revenue following these traumatic events and to stop the environmental damage caused by some of the protection measures currently used.


According to The International Shark Attack File1 there has been a steady increase in negative encounters between people and sharks since 1900.

Record of sharks attacks up to February 2015 (source: International Shark Attack file 1 )

The fear associated with shark attacks has been creating a worldwide decline of beaches usage, and a subsequent decline of income for local businesses and national tourism activities.

The attack on a surfer in Ballina Beach (Australia), caused a 200,000 US$ loss in sales for and a local surf shop 2. The 19 shark incidents from 2011 to 2016 in La Reunion Island resulted in a 4.5Mil US$ loss per year in tourism revenue 3.

Risks associated with shark attacks on beachgoers have been internationally addressed by deploying drum lines and shark nets: technologies developed to minimise shark attacks by reducing shark number 4. Shark nets in particular are not shark specific, and responsible for high levels of biodiversity loss by causing mortality of harmless sharks, whales, dolphins, sea turtles and large bony fishes 5,6.

Our innovation provides an eco-friendly alternative that will aid in biodiversity conservation and will reduce shark attacks and anxiety on beachgoers.

The eco-friendly Sharksafe Barrier TM bio-mimics the visual effects of a kelp forest (large marine seaweeds), and generates a strong magnetic field through ceramic magnets; this forms a double barrier (visual and magnetic) that keeps sharks from swimming through it. It is made of four rows of vertical plastic pipes containing magnets, anchored to the sea floor and extended all the way to the surface. The Sharksafe Barrier TM affects only large sharks, while any other marine life such as seals and bony fishes swim through it in the same way they naturally utilise the kelp forest as a refuge. It also allows for boat to easily go through it.

REFERENCES AND SOURCES

  1. International Shark Attack File. Available at: https://www.qt.com.au/news/every-shark-attack-ever-recorded-captured-map/2674734/.
  2. Ballina Businesses feel the pain of shark attacks. The Australian (2016).
  3. Alexander, H. Reunion’s ‘shark crisis’: when will it be safe to go back into the water? The Telegraph (2015).
  4. Kwazulu Natal Shark Board. KNSB Website. Available at: http://www.shark.co.za/Pages/ProtectionSharks-NetsDrumlines.
  5. Report into the NSW Shark Meshing Program. (2016).
  6. Cliff, G. Sharks caught in the protective gill nets off KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 8. The Great hammerhead shark Sphyrna mokarran (Rüppell). South African J. Mar. Sci. 15, 105–114 (1995).

SharkSafe Barrier Sponsors and Partners

It is our mission for the SharkSafe BarrierTM  to be deployed worldwide in all areas currently facing the threat of shark attacks.  

We hope to see our innovation moving the world into a greener direction.