An American chemist says he’s found a substance – several, in fact – that can repel some of the most fearsome predators in the ocean. He wants to use his discovery to protect them, and us.
Eric Stroud stands on a pier on the island of North Bimini in the Bahamas. He looks down into the turquoise water. A couple of eagle rays and barracudas swim by.
“The current is ripping through here right now,” he says. “The tide is going out. So any scent that’s put here goes right to the outside of the channel, and that’s where the big sharks are right now.”
Stroud is setting up an experiment. He unwraps 20lbs (9kgs) of frozen sardines, drops them into a mesh bag tied to the pier, and tosses the bag into the water. He’s hoping to attract a large bull shark.
“It’s a fairly dangerous shark,” he explains. “It can be aggressive, especially when provoked or cornered.”
If a bull shark does turn up, he’ll throw a large baited hook into the water. But it’s not your typical fishhook. In fact, if all goes well, this hook won’t catch any sharks.
For more than a decade, Stroud has been working to develop shark repellents.
BY: By Ari Daniel Shapiro PRI’s The World
Stroud made his discovery in 2004. It helped him jumpstart a company he’d founded called SharkDefense, that aims to develop and commercialise shark repellents.
Geremy Cliff, head of research at KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, says an Australian study in 2009 suggested that magnets can repel five shark species, while they have little effect on one teleost (bony fish) species in a test tank environment.