The Shark Shield, a device intended to protect swimmers from the oceangoing predators, has gone on sale in Florida, a state that led the world in shark attacks last year.
Shark Shield is being marketed by an Australian company, according to KLTV, yet American consumers can now purchase the device from its first U.S. based store, which recently opened in Tampa Bay. The location is certainly not coincidental; as The Inquisitr has previously reported, Florida beachgoers are no strangers to the threat of shark attacks this summer.
The device is based on a pair of electrodes that generate an electrical field to ward off sharks. “You wear this on your ankle and this antenna trails behind you in the water,” explained Shark Shield general manager Amanda Wilson. “Inside this antenna we’ve got two electrodes,” which create a field that causes a shark to spasm, keeping the predator at bay.
— Second Wind Maui (@SecondWindMaui) November 18, 2013
“[Shark Shield] doesn’t cause any long-term damage,” Wilson added, according to WESH. “[Shark Shield] just causes the muscular contraction of their snout. As soon as they’re outside of the field, that spasm stops.”
Chad Campbell, who tested the Shark Shield, confirmed that it was indeed effective at keeping the animals away. “They might come in but just close enough to where you could see them then go away and stay on the outer perimeter of us,” he said, adding that “it definitely worked and I’m not getting in the water without it anymore for a safety precaution.”
— New Smyrna Shark (@NewSmyrnaShark) July 28, 2014
According to the Shark Shield website, the device effects the organs that sharks utilize to sense the electrical field of prey animals:
“All chondrichthyans (sharks and rays) such as predatory sharks have highly sensitive electrical receptors called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ located in their snouts. These tiny gel filled sacs sense electrical current from prey, but only at very close distances, typically less than one meter. They use these short range sensors when feeding or searching for food. They do not use electrical receptors to track animate objects over long distances – other senses such as audition and olfaction are the primary drivers. Scientists have discovered these receptors are an area where sharks are vulnerable, and that it is in fact possible to exploit this sensory system to our advantage, without harming the shark.”
The Shark Shield technology has been on the market since 1995, when it was released by a joint venture company, POD Holdings Ltd, that was partially owned by the government of South Africa, a country noted for its population of great white sharks.
— DeeperBlue.com (@deeperblue) July 15, 2014
A Shark Shield unit starts at around $600.
[Image via NBC News]