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Shark Shield to Protect Reunion Island Surfers from Shark Attacks

  • 3 min read


Shark Shield, the world’s only scientifically proven and independently tested electronic shark deterrent, is announcing a “Surf Any Break Without Intimidation” program for Reunion Island Surfers to get them back in the water safely.

Since 2011, the International Shark Attack File reports there have been 12 shark attacks in Reunion Island, five of which were deadly. Faced with the increase in deadly attacks, the prefect of the island announced a slew of measures in July, including banning swimming, surfing and body boarding off more than half of the coast; they also plan to cull 90 sharks—45 tiger sharks and 45 bull sharks.

Now that the ban on surfing in Reunion Island has expired, Shark Shield is offering to sponsor Reunion Island surfers to get back in the water safely with its “Surf Any Break Without Intimidation” promotion. The company is offering Reunion Island surfers a Shark Shield SURF7 for a once off price of US$399 (normally $599). The offer is only valid during the month of October, and the offer is only available to the first 300 surfers.

Lindsay Lyon, Chairman and keen surfer stated, “I can’t believe that we’d ever get to a point where a government would ban surfing, let alone decide to cull a species that across the board is endangered. There is a solution and we’re offering it now.”

According to Sea Shepherd, 100 million sharks are killed each year by sport fishermen or by those who practice shark finning, which consists of catching the fish and slicing off their fins while they are still alive.

The company’s electronic 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.

In 2012, Australian scientists independently tested Shark Shield devices off the coast of South Africa using towed seal decoys (SARDI Research), a test that closely resembles a shark attacking a moving surfboard. With the Shark Shield turned off, there were 16 breaches and 27 surface interactions. With the Shark Shield turned on, there were no breaches and only two at-surface interactions, unequivocally proving the efficacy of the Shark Shield deterrent solution.

Mr Lyon says the deterrent works on the principle that all chondrichthyes — sharks, rays, skates and chimeras — possess ampulla receptors in their snouts that are used to find food, communicate and find a mate.

These receptors are tuned to low-frequency fields and only operate when in close proximity with food — or a surfer. Mr Lyon also stated that “Electronic shark deterrents do not attract sharks, this is a complete myth. The ampulla receptors maximum sensing distance is well under a meter, and as electrical currents between two localised electrodes simply cannot travel any distance through water, it’s an impossibility that would defy the laws of physics and biology.”

“Mounted on the rear of the board with your grip pad, the Shark Shield emits an electromagnetic field between two electrodes that disturbs these receptors with what has been described as a lightning fast pain of whale-like proportions,” says Mr Lyon. Extra SURF7 mounting plates are also available, so it’s very easy to move the SURF7 between your quiver of boards.

Mr Lyon states there are no known long-term adverse effects to the shark from the electrical field but the discomfort is enough for it to deter a shark from approaching a surfer or diver.

Reunion Island surfers can only order the US$399 Shark Shield SURF7 from Shark Shield’s online store using the promotion coupon code “SURF-REUNION”. The company accepts all major credit cards but for international transactions recommends PayPal for easy payment. Clearly at this price you’re going to have to be quick!

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