In South Africa, researchers have developed a barrier made from PVC pipes which can protect bathers without harming the sharks.
Among the many solutions invented by man to protect bathing waters from sharks, it is nets that have the biggest flaw. Or should that be smallest? Sharks are the main victims of nets as they can get trapped and find themselves unable to escape. Professor Conrad Matthee of South Africa's Stellenbosch University's Department of Zoology and Botany located in Cape province, estimates that populations of certain species of sharks have fallen by 90% over the past 20 years, and particularly the Great White Shark. However, dolphins and turtles also fall victim to these nets.
While observing the predators' behaviours, the researchers came up with a new way for protecting us from sharks, while also protecting the sharks themselves. "We noticed, on many occasions, how seals that were being hunted by sharks would hide amongst the kelp, a formation of giant algae, and that the sharks systematically refused to swim into the algae."
After making this observation, the researchers developed vertical PVC structures that imitate the structure of kelp, some of which were fitted with magnetic devices to dissuade certain species of sharks.
The system has already been deployed on the beaches of the city of Gansbaai. Bait was placed behind the barrier in order to test the Sharksafe's effectiveness: to date, the system seems to be effective as no shark has yet crossed the barrier.
To be continued!