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January 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Shields and Repellants to Keep the Sharks Away

from the January, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Few sharks are going to have a Jaws-like hissy fit near divers. Still, manufacturers are coming up with products to keep them at bay.

Shark Shield, introduced three years ago, is now available in a second version called Freedom7, onethird the size of the original and attaching to the ankle instead of the tank. It generates an electrical field, or a shark-safe zone, 26 feet in diameter around the diver. Electrodes generate a pulsing sensation detected by the shark through its sensory receptors, and create muscular spasms that cause the shark to immediately flee. However, say Shark Shields Australian makers, there is no lasting effect to the shark once its left. And the transmitter only repels transmitter sharks. The Shark Field Freedom7 retails for $596 and comes with a charger and seven-hour battery. More details about Freedom7 are at www.sharkshield.com.

How about shark repellant you can just slather on your skin? A team of marine scientists at the University of Miami believes it has created just that, the first sharkrepelling sunblock. The lotion, now in its final testing stage, operates on pheromones and just one application will protect swimmers in the surf, says lead researcher Patrick Rice. But divers wont be quite as protected the sunblock/shark repellent only works for 30 minutes before it needs to be reapplied. Teeka Tan, the company that will market it, says its still working on liability issues around the sunblock (in case someone wearing it still gets bitten) but plans to have it on shelves in 2008.

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