Shark Diving Unlimited Kleinbaai

Shark, South Africa

Shark Diving Unlimited Kleinbaai

Shark, South Africa
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O'Connell C.P.,Inc. Yonkers | Andreotti S.,Stellenbosch University | Rutzen M.,Shark Diving Unlimited Kleinbaai | Matthee C.A.,Stellenbosch University
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2017

Following a shark attack, local governments often rapidly respond by implementing indiscriminate shark culls. These culls have been demonstrated to have substantial localized and adverse effects on a variety of marine organisms, and therefore there is an increasing need for an eco-friendly alternative that maximizes both beachgoer and marine organismal safety. In response to such culls, the novel magnetic barrier technology, the Sharksafe Barrier was developed and rigorously tested on a variety of sharks implicated in shark attacks (e.g. bull sharks - Carcharhinus leucas and white sharks - Carcharodon carcharias). Although these studies exhibited promise in shark swim pattern manipulation and C. leucas exclusion, research was lacking in assessing if the technology could serve as an alternative to shark nets, or more specifically, if it could exclude motivated C. carcharias from bait. Using a 13 m × 13 m square exclusion zone, this study aimed to test the C. carcharias exclusion capabilities of the Sharksafe Barrier while additionally assessing the long-term structural integrity of the system. After 34 trials and approximately 255 hours of total video collected over two years, data illustrate that all interacting C. carcharias were successfully excluded from the baited Sharksafe Barrier region, whereas teleosts and other small elasmobranch species were not. In addition, the long-term deployment potential of this barrier system held promise owing to its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, with the successful exclusion of a second large shark species, C. carcharias, from a baited region, continued long-term research and implementation of this system at other locations should be considered to assess its viability and overall success as a bather and shark protection system. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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