Pat­terned de­signs aim to con­fuse sharks’ vi­sion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - GET REEL - Chris Kohler

SHARK Mit­i­ga­tion Sys­tems surged on the share­mar­ket yes­ter­day (Jan­uary 17) af­ter an­nounc­ing a part­ner­ship with in­ter­na­tional surf re­tailer Rusty, which will in­cor­po­rate the com­pany’s shark-de­ter­ring pat­terns into its surf­boards.

In con­junc­tion with the Univer­sity of West­ern Aus­tralia, Shark Mit­i­ga­tion Sys­tems has de­vel­oped pat­terns for wet­suits and surf­boards de­signed to re­duce the risk of a shark at­tack by con­fus­ing the preda­tor’s vi­sion.

Re­searchers say test­ing in South Africa showed it took, on av­er­age, 400 per cent longer for sharks to en­gage with their pat­terned wet­suits than stan­dard black ver­sions and, while the surf­boards are not di­rectly ref­er­enced in that study, the com­pany says the science is sim­i­lar.

A sharp in­crease in shark in­ter­ac­tions in re­cent years has sig­nif­i­cantly boosted in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est in the tech­nol­ogy, ac­cord­ing to Shark Mit­i­ga­tion Sys­tems co-founder Craig An­der­son.

“We’ve been talk­ing to a num­ber of dif­fer­ent wa­ter ap­parel and wa­ter equip­ment com­pa­nies all over the world. There are al­ready com­pa­nies of­fer­ing our graphic on the bot­tom of their board, as a retro­fit or as a cus­tom de­sign,” Mr An­der­son told The Aus­tralian.

“Sharks have seven senses, two ex­tra that we don’t have, and it’s widely un­der­stood that their weak­est sense is sight.

“We know we can in­cor­po­rate de­signs that cre­ate con­fu­sion for a shark’s vis­ual sys­tem into the prod­uct at man­u­fac­ture stage. That means is you don’t have to buy another piece of kit.”

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