ScreenWest

The change that made these sharks attack

THIS is the moment a dummy armed with shark repellents but stuffed with bait spends 14 minutes in the water, has 226 shark interactions and isn't attacked once.

Feeding bull sharks circle but never pounce on the bobbing victim.

Minutes later, when the repellents are removed, the dummy is attacked the moment in touches the water.

On average it took 46 seconds for the sharks to attack baited dummies that weren't wearing Sharkbanz, a product that claims to keep the ocean predators at bay.

A team conducted the research project in November last year with Discovery Canada to test the products on wild bull sharks in the Bahamas.

When the dummy wore the Sharkbanz the bull sharks just circled and didn’t attack.
When the dummy wore the Sharkbanz the bull sharks just circled and didn’t attack.

In one example, a dummy leg wearing a band and a Sharkbanz leash, designed for surfers, is never attacked, but it is when they're removed.

Because there were so many sharks circling the jetty, researchers were able to get an even more thorough picture with the lifelike dummy. It had bait on all four limbs and was thrown into a frenzy of 15 feeding bull sharks.

Sharkbanz co-founder Nathan Garrison said proving the product worked was an issue dear to his heart.

"Ever since my close friend was attacked by a bull shark I've dreamt of providing people an effective, affordable, simple device they can use to reduce the risk," he said.

But when the bands came off, a shark was quick to grab the dummy.
But when the bands came off, a shark was quick to grab the dummy.

"This data proves we've accomplished that goal."

Bull sharks, found worldwide, are one of the most common predatory shark species and

are responsible for the highest number of human attacks.

While the majority of these attacks happen in the US, specifically Florida, Australians are often warned to keep out of rivers and canals where their numbers are rife.

In another example, an inquisitive shark goes near a dummy leg but swims away.
In another example, an inquisitive shark goes near a dummy leg but swims away.

The study found sharks were 85 per cent more likely to display avoidance behaviour when baited dummies were wearing Sharkbanz than without.

The patented magnetic deterrent technology is said to create a strong electromagnetic field that

interferes with a shark's electrical sensors.

The inventors, from South Carolina in the US, say the interference doesn't harm sharks but is highly unpleasant and can cause the inquisitive sharks to turn away, similar to a person having a bright light flashed in their eyes in a dark room.

The results of the research are being submitted for independent, scientific peer review.

But the shark takes a bite when the bands come off, which manufacturers say proves their effectiveness.
But the shark takes a bite when the bands come off, which manufacturers say proves their effectiveness.

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