By Ben Coxworth / TheBombSurf
As regular viewers of a certain TV channel will already know, the orca (or killer whale) is one of the only animals that kills sharks. It would follow, therefore, that sharks generally try to stay away from them. It was with this fact in mind that the SharkStopper Personal Shark Repellent (PSR) device was created. The ankle-worn gadget emulates orca vocalizations, and has reportedly been shown to repel various species of sharks.
The PSR contains a sensor that automatically activates it when the wearer enters the water. It then proceeds to emit a series of orca-like squeals, which are transmitted at a specific frequency which is also claimed to be unpleasant to sharks.
Open-water testing has been conducted in locations such as Bimini, Mexico, Hawaii and Florida. In all cases, sharks were first lured in with blood and bait. When the device was subsequently put in the water, however, it reportedly caused the animals to move away. It was tested on a number of species, over a range of 5 to 20 yards (4.5 to 18 m).
The PSR is said to cause no actual harm to the sharks, and is also claimed not to repel other types of fish. Because of that, its designers are also working on another product that could be attached to commercial fishing lines and nets. It could both deter sharks from coming in to attack other fish that have already been caught, plus it could keep them from ending up on the lines or in the nets themselves.
The SharkStopper company is now raising production funds for the PSR, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$225 will get you one, when and if they’re ready to go. The planned retail price is $475.
Interestingly enough, the creators of another wearable orca-emulating shark-deterring gizmo also recently began a Kickstarter campaign. Their device is called the ORCA, although they recently cancelled their campaign due to lack of response, and are now backing the SharkStopper team.
More information is available in the pitch video below.
Sources: SharkStopper, Kickstarter via CNET