05 July 2005

Innovative shark barriers given go-ahead for South Africa and Australia

Electronic barriers to keep sharks away from popular beaches are to be given the go-ahead in Australia and South Africa.

Australian company Seachange Technology said on Monday that it had signed a deal with South Africa's Natal Sharks Board to trial electronic devices that give out a signal that drives sharks away but is harmless to them and to dolphins and whales.

Australia protects most shark species just as it does dolphins and whales.

The announcement comes a week after three swimmers were attacked by sharks off beaches in Florida, the United States.

Seachange manufactures electronic shark repellent products that can be strapped to diving suits, boats and surf boards.

"The personal shark shield devices are already being used by recreational and professional divers around the world," Seachange chairperson Rod Hartley said.

"We're very excited by the potential to develop much larger models to protect whole bays and beaches as well as commercial fish farms worldwide."

Australia has had a record incidence of shark attacks in the past 12 months.

In July 2004 surfer Brad Smith, 29, was killed by a great white south of Perth. Days later spear-fisherman Mark Thompson, 38, died after a shark attack near Cairns, Queensland. The same month, 18-year-old surfer Nick Petersen was killed by a great white within sight of Adelaide's most popular beach.

Source: www.iol.co.za


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