Australian beaches may be installed with a one million dollar electronic cable that wards off sharks in a few years. Researchers assert that all great white sharks that swam close to the shark repelling cable turned around during their testing in a beach near Cape Town, South Africa.

The South African Sharks Board believes that the device could eliminate the need for shark nets and drumlines, which has been known to harm non-target shark species such as grey nurse sharks. The Sharks Board will soon get in touch with Australian State governments to present the deterrent cable to beaches with a history of shark attack incidents which includes Cottesloe.

The trial involved studying 52 great white sharks approaching the pulsing cable for four weeks. According to the researchers, the cable confuses the sharks’ sensory systems, with a success rate of 100 percent.



The electronic cable does not harm non-target shark species such as hammerhead sharks. Credit: Wikimedia/Halibut Thyme

“We’re very excited,” says Sharks Board Project Manager Paul von Blerk. “We’ve seen it work every time, and we’d like to bring it to Perth beaches within a few years.”

The cable floats under the ocean surface. The researchers are now working to develop a commercial version for governments, which will reduce the cost to $200,000.

This device may be the key to preventing shark attacks without harming other marine species because unlike current shark deterrent strategies, particularly the use of drumlines, the cable does not harm the sharks and humans. The Humane Society International (HSI) previously released a statement reprimanding the NSW government’s decision to install smart drumlines on the NSW north coast.

“Our view is that Smart Drumlines are an unnecessary and lethal addition to the Government’s plans for shark management in NSW,” said HSI resident marine scientist Jessica Morris. “These could result in the deaths of many non-target species such as hammerhead and grey nurse sharks, both of which are protected in NSW.”