Reading more and more about shark attacks that have recently been transpiring and having worked in a small town where they are very particular about seeing sharks, I read up a little bit more about shark shields and why I have come to believe they are not such a bad idea. Shark shields are a simple technology that uses electrical wave forms to repel sharks. Before moving to Geraldton, I have never even heard of a shark shield, obviously because I had no reason to fear sharks and would do anything to be able to spot one, not drive it away. Sharks have very sensitive electrical receptors and can detect it in their prey’s electrical magnetic pulse when they are searching for food. The shark shield however creates an undesirable sensation consequently repelling the shark away.
Shark shields are commonly used among divers, surfers, spear fishers and many others not only in Western Australia but all over Australia itself. Being a very strong advocate for sharks, understandably I was especially skeptical about the shark shield and why people felt the need to drive sharks away when all I do is try to see one. In my own mind, I felt obligated to inform people that if they chose to enter the ocean, they chose to accept whatever risks they take when doing so. In saying that, after a few weeks of witnessing my customers coming in and out of the shop requesting shark shields, I come to realize that shark admirer or not, technology has come such a long way and developed considerably in this particular area.
Scientists and marine biologists have been trying to find a way of discharging any bad reputation sharks may have and that included lowering the number of shark attacks that occur. Having the shark shield, I believe, does that. If in any way it diminishes the amount of shark attacks that take place, what harm would it do for surfers to go out with a shark shield? It is indeed quite sad that many choose not to enter the water unless equipped with shark shields however I do hope conservationists and advocates like myself can slowly transform people’s dead set pre-conceived ideas about sharks.
Shark attacks remain a relatively rare occurrence but it still happens and it is not too hard to comprehend who the greater threat is. In comparison, sharks kill on average 11 humans a year, where as we kill 30 million sharks annual and those are just statistics we know of. Being a shark advocate, I follow any relevant stories or information regarding sharks and recently noticing that I have been reading up on more attacks that have been arising. Unfortunately scientist don’t as of yet have an answer to why they are occurring. It could be based on increasing climate change and current in our oceans, or who knows maybe sharks have come to realize that we are slowly killing them off and have decided to retaliate. Either way, 90% of attacks are mistakes and they are just top predators in their ocean food chain following their instincts.
My original speculations of shark shields were stubborn one-way thinking that anyone against sharks was laughable. But what kind of conservationist and advocate would I be if I wasn’t at least open to ideas and possibilities that there are still people out there who are frightened at the thought of seeing a shark and that a shark shield would by some means guide them get into the water. Just because I don’t understand it does not mean it cannot benefit those who are anxious about the deep blue. All in all, I admit that the shark shield is an invention that has revolutionized water sports and have allowed people that would otherwise not go near the water to now being unafraid to confidently enter the ocean and I believe that’s the first step to opening their minds to a world of awe-inspiring beauty where they can eventually learn to respect and appreciate sharks.