Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shark Repellents - the Bible!

Shark repelling Batspray in action!

Talk about a monumental tour de force!
If you ever want to talk about Shark senses and Shark repellents with any degree of competence, you must get your hands on this simply epic treatise on the topic!
Very impressed!

No I'm not gonna try and write a synopsis.
It's simply too monumental, complex and exhaustive - and when it comes to the finer details, I'm also too stupid!

Just this.
I really had to laugh out loudly when reading the following.
Taking a different approach based on his experiences diving in the western Pacific, marine biologist Walter Starck developed a black-and-white banded wetsuit that was intended to mimic the banded poisonous sea snakes that many sharks appeared to avoid eating (Doak 1974; Nelson 1983).

Whilst T. obesus appeared to be unaffected by the banded wetsuit, it was reported to have a repellent effect on C. amblyrhynchos, C. galapagensis, and silvertip sharks (Carcharhinus albimarginatus Rüppell, 1837). Doubt was cast on the effectiveness of the banded suit based on testing performed in the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, but these negative results might have been because the test sites were not inhabited by sea snakes, and local shark populations may not have had the opportunity to learn to avoid them (Nelson 1983). 

This controversy also serves to highlight the difficulties in assessing repellence when complex multi-sensorial cues are available and the problems inherent in testing shark repellents when sharks must be induced (with food) to interact with them. The repellent effects of some devices may be subtle and provide a useful level of protection against unprovoked bites under normal conditions, but may be significantly reduced when sharks are provoked into feeding, especially when in groups (Gilbert 1962).
Even if we choose to forget the WA Tiger Sharks that target Sea Snakes, and Marine Dynamics' zebra decoy - how many Banded Sea Kraits does a GWS typically encounter in his lifetime?

And the funny disquieting part?
Hart and Collin are the very researchers that are lending scientific credibility to that whole Aussie wetsuit scam where the marketing team has even got the audacity to go and praise themselves on self-congratulatory and eminently deceiving TED talks

So what is this. 
Honesty in peer-reviewed articles - but then, aiding and abetting the brazen profiteering?
May this be a case of, gasp, integrity vs money?

Questions questions - but do read that article!

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