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Greg Pickering, a professional abalone diver in his mid-50’s was lucky to survive a shark attack while diving

in waters off Poison Creek beach, 160 kilometres east of the town of Esperance, Western Australia, on 8th October.

With five fatal attacks due to Great White Sharks in the past two years and this most recent attack, Western Australia is vying for the unenviable title of “Shark Capital of the World”.

Sadly, as well as spoiling the fun of millions of Australians it also means the Australian ocean sport and tourism industries are suffering significantly from the fear of shark attacks, with many surf and dive shops seeing a 40 per cent decline in revenue.

But the Australian company behind Shark Shield, the world’s only scientifically proven and independently tested electronic shark deterrent, believes the reduced popularity of aquatic sports is unnecessary and a better understanding of electronic shark deterrents would go a long way to reducing concerns about taking to the ocean.

The Shark Shield provides a clear level of protection not only for professional ocean users like abalone divers but recreational users like surfers, spear fishers and scuba divers. Getting that message across, however, has proved problematic.

“It’s incredibly frustrating that a product that is so well proven with 20 years of scientific research, significant independent testing and a long history of saving lives can be so misunderstood,” said Lindsay Lyon, Executive Chairman of Shark Shield.

“When the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) released its independent Shark Shield research in 2012, several media outlets incorrectly reported and sensationalised the results as device failures. “We did not see the media even comment on the tests using towed seal decoys. In this set of tests (186 tows) with the Shark Shield turned off, there were 16 breaches and 27 surface interactions. But with the Shark Shield...
Five people have been killed by sharks off Western Australia’s southwest coast in less than a year.

Sharks have a sixth sense, allowing them to detect electro-magnetic fields caused by the movement of fish and other potential prey. Ocean-lovers in Cape Town are using a device that repels sharks by emitting an electrical wave form.

The Shark Shield was invented in South Africa in the 1990s, and is now made in Australia. Divers of University of Cape Town Zoology Department are among users of the Shark Shield.

Andrea Plos, head diving supervisor, explains where the elliptical field that surrounds the user emanates from. “It’s the whip part of your shark shield, and it dangles behind you, and what you must try to make sure is that no one bumps into it or touches it. It will tend to give you a bit of a shock.”

For Plos and these University student divers, having the shark shield gives peace of mind. “As scientific divers we spend a considerable amount of time in the water, often in high risk areas, and with zero visibility, and it just adds a level of safety and reduces the risk while in the water.”

Thus far the shark shield has proven its worth.

“We’ve never had any incidents while wearing the shark shield, and we have dived in very risky areas with lots of Great Whites,” says Plos.

What the shark shield deterrent does is to overwhelm the sixth electric sense that shark’s possess. As the shark comes closer to the device, increasingly uncomfortable spasms occur in the snout area, which should then result in the shark veering away.

Other shark shield users include surfers, such as Neil Uys. He feels safer with the device attached to his surf board, even though he is concerned about sharks that may be in attack or predatory...
Surfers, kite surfers, swimmers, snorkelers — they’ve all suffered attacks by sharks in Hawaii this year.

Tragically, a 20-year-old German visitor died after being attacked by a shark off Maui earlier this month. Jana Lutteropp was snorkeling at White Rock Beach in Makena, Maui, when the shark attacked, as reported by CNN 22nd Aug 2013

It was the fifth shark attack off the Valley Isle in recent months and in total eight people have been bitten by sharks this year, including four in the past three weeks.

The spate of attacks has left experts puzzled, and groping for answers and local Hawaiian scuba diving and spearfishing businesses struggling. But is there already a proven solution to preventing shark attacks?

Shark Shield, the Australian manufacturer of a patented shark deterrent, believes attacks could have been avoided if its electrical shark deterrent, the Shark Shield FREEDOM7, had been worn.

The company’s electrical shark deterrent is the result of more than 20 years of scientific research by some of the world’s leading experts in sharks including the KwaZulu-Natal Shark Board of South Africa.

The result of these two decades of research and development is the Shark Shield FREEDOM7, the only scientific proven and independently tested electrical shark deterrent designed to reduce the risk of an unwanted shark encounter.

In 2012, scientists from SARDI (South Australian Research Institute) released detailed research where they conducted 116 static bait trials on the Shark Shield FREEDOM7 near the Neptune Islands of South Australia and 189 dynamic trials using seal decoy tows near Seal Island, South Africa.

In the static test, the product significantly increased the time for sharks to take the bait. Once the device was activated, observers noticed a decrease in interactions within two meters. Throughout the seal decoy tow tests, there were no breaches and only two at-surface interactions when the device was...
Shark Shield this week announced the opening of its first U.S. office in St. Petersburg, Florida.

According to the company announcement:

After 12 years of leadership in the Australian spearfishing and dive market, we are now opening our U.S. office to support local U.S. spearfishers and divers and to educate other water sports enthusiasts on alternatives to shark culling and powerheads. Shark Shieldhas been protecting people and providing peace of mind for nearly 20 years, supplied over 20,000 units and have hundreds of user testimonials.

Shark Shield’s technology is based on more than 20 years of scientific research by some of the world’s leading shark experts and is used by the Australian Navy, U.S. Navy & Coast Guard and professional abalone divers and spear fishers around the world. The company recently signed Tom Carroll, two-time World Surfing Champion, as its brand Ambassador in the surfing and stand-up paddle board markets.

The three Shark Shield devices, SURF7, SCUBA7 and FREEDOM7 create an electronic shark barrier by using salt water as the conductor to produce an electromagnetic field that disturbs the sharks’ (ampullary) receptors used to find food. There are no known long-term effects to the shark from the electrical field, but the discomfort is enough to discourage interaction with humans. The field is not detectable by other ocean creatures like the catch you are hunting. As a result, many professional divers and spearfishermen use Shark Shield as their most important piece of equipment.

Shark Shield is currently being sold in dive shops and spearfishing stores. Retail prices range between $599 and $699.

Anyone wanting Shark Shield to visit their dive or spear club to present the company’s technology, as well as the independent testing results including video, should contact Scott Wilson, U.S. sales manager, via email at scott.wilson@SharkShield.com or by phone at +1.727.301.8835.
St. Petersburg — An Australian company offers divers some assurance to avoid shark encounters with a device that sends an electronic signal that the animals don’t like.

Dive Instructor at Aquatic Obsessions, avid spearfisherman John Falcone is out on his his boat pretty much once a week and is used to seeing all types of fish.

But when he runs into a shark — it’s not something he ever gets used to.

“He definitely did not want to leave. He was on the surface before we were even in the water,” says Falcone.

Just last week, Falcone was fishing when a shark interrupted the fun.

“So we didn’t dive that spot that day,” says Falcone.

He says the next day, they returned but this time he was prepared.

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