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New tool can protect local divers from shark attacks

New tool can protect local divers from shark attacks

Shark Shield comes to the US
Adam Winer, ABC Action News

When he’s not running his dive shop in St. Petersburg and teaching people to scuba dive, Chad Campbell is spear fishing.

“In the winter time, we commercial spear fish,” Campbell said. “So that’s going out, catching grouper, snapper, hog fish, all the stuff that they serve on your local menu.”

But to get the fish on your plate, Campbell risks becoming a tasty meal for a shark. “They do come in unannounced, so you have to always watch your back,” said Campbell, who has come face to face with sharks numerous times throughout his 30-year career on the water.

In some cases, the only thing keeping the shark from getting too close is a new tool he recently added to his arsenal. It’s called Shark Shield.

“Sharks have come in, and there’s an electronic field that surrounds you,” said Campbell, who began using the device last winter. “Oncethey enter that, they get shocked and run into stuff trying to get away from it.”

Shark Shield comes from a company that’s been based in Australia for the past dozen years but has recently set up shop in St. Petersburg.

“The bay area and the Gulf of Mexico has a lot of shark activity that we’ve seen increasing in the past three to five years, so there’s a demand for the product,” said Amanda Wilson, general manager of Shark Shield, Shark Shield was a hit in Australia, where it was invented. Now Wilson hopes it will find users in the United States, where there is an active spear fishing community as well as commercial and leisure divers.

“I don’t go in the water without it,” Campbell said. Campbell and other dive shops will be selling the products.


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