Lead author Professor Corey Bradshaw of Flinders University coordinated a study about the use of electronic deterrents to reduce shark bites. They were capable apable of reducing the likelihood of a bite by about 60%, potentially saving hundreds of lives over the next 50 years. “Avoiding death, injury, and trauma from shark bites over the next half-century would be a realistic outcome if people use these personal electronic deterrents whenever they’re in the water, and as long as the technology is operating at capacity.” Shark scientist and co-author Associate Professor Charlie Huveneers, who leads the Southern Shark Ecology Group at Flinders University, says the electronic deterrent devices can be beneficial, as long as people understand their effectiveness and how much they actually reduce the risk of attacks.
However device efficacy varies among manufacturers and even between products of the same manufacturer. Electric shark repellent technology was first proposed in the 1990s. The science behind it seems simple- generate an artificial electric field through electrodes that are immersed in seawater as the conductor. Scientists have analysed shark bites around Australia from 1900 to 2020 to develop models and estimate the likely impact of electronic deterrents, had they been available. A range of shark deterrents is currently on the market.