Shark nets have always been controversial in beaches communities. They don’t prevent shark attacks by repelling sharks, they cull them. This has unintended consequences of harming iconic marine wildlife including dolphins, turtles and rays.
Northern Beaches MP, Jason Falinski has said swimmers safety should always be a priority for authorities. However, shark nets are not necessarily the answer.
“When the community goes to the beach, they want to know they are safe from sharks. Historically, nets have been the tool to do that.” Mr Falinski said.
“However, there is new technology emerging which can do the job better and cause less harm to the marine environment.”
Warriewood based business, Ocean Guardian are producing Shark Shield Technology, an electrical shark deterrent, which can be used by surfers, swimmers or any other ocean activity.
Ocean Guardian Chief Executive Officer, Lindsay Lyon said: “Ocean Guardian, powered by Shark Shield Technology, is the world’s only scientifically proven and independently tested electrical shark deterrent.”
“Shark Shield Technology creates a powerful three-dimensional electrical field which causes safe but unbearable spasms in shark’s short-range electrical receptors, turning sharks away - including Great Whites. Nothing is more effective.”
Mr Lyon also stressed the environmental impact which nets have on marine life. Primarily the unnecessary culling of sharks, when there are repellent options available.
“There is no question that Ocean Guardian’s technology can be used to replace environmentally damaging shark nets and drumlines to create the safest beaches in the world”
Lawrence Chlebeck, a marine biologist with Humane Society International, has supported the argument that there is far more effective methods to reduce the risk to swimmers from sharks.
“Shark nets were first used in Sydney in 1937, meaning there has been 80 years of technological advancement and progress in our understanding of shark behaviour. There are proven effective methods to reduce the risk of shark bite, and personal shark deterrents are at the forefront,” said Mr Lawrence Chlebeck.
“Last year alone, shark nets in NSW killed 7 dolphins, 6 turtles and 14 critically endangered grey nurse sharks. There are better ways to protect ocean users without taking such a brutal toll on our marine wildlife.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on businesses which operate with international supply chains, including Ocean Guardian. Mr Lyon of Ocean Guardian added that the COVID-19 pandemic would have had a significant impact on the production of the Shark Deterrent, if it were not for Federal Government support.
“Without the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program and support from our bank the CBA, there is no doubt we would have struggled to survive the downturn caused by COVID-19”
“JobKeeper has enabled us to maintain our current staffing levels, without JobKeeper we would have drastically cut staff numbers.”
LINK: Video of Ocean Guardian – Shark Deterrent in use on a surf board: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ta2bdupif5dasm3/Shark%20Shield%20FREEDOM%2B%20Surf%20Testing%20-%20Terra%20Australis%20SHORT.mov?dl=0