In order to demonstrate that this concept will also work with sharks some tests have been done with different species such as Bull sharks (Carcharinus leucas) in Mexico and Oceanic Black Tip sharks (Carcharinus limbatus) in South Africa
Oceanic Black Tips at Aliwal Shoal
On november 2016 we joined Dr. Geremmy Cliff, head of research at Kwazulu Natal Shark Board in Durban, South Africa and Paul von Blerk, shark repellent project director. With previous experience as long-time expert regarding shark attacks in many shark incident areas like Reunion island they helped us organize all the tests at the Aliwal Shoal area with oceanic black tip sharks
Bait was used in all instances in order to provoke the sharks and facilitate behaviour analysis and conclusions. Since bait will not be placed in the sites where Sharkalive will be installed in either the beach or coastal locations, this makes it easier to understand the validity of the experts’ conclusions and expect patterns of much more shark cautious behavior in “real” situations
A cube structure containing bait was placed at a depth of 5 meters. Prototype was immersed into the water with non changing conditions except spines being attached or not to the structure
The first trial was executed with spines and sharks were clearly attracted by the bait swimming around the cube at all times. Nevertheless just a few of them got close enough to touch the spines and in this case, and with no exception they refused immediately any further contact and moved away.
After a 15 minutes surface interval, the cube was back in the water with the same bait still placed inside but this time NO SPINES at all were placed around the structure. In less than a minute the first attack took place, followed by consecutive attacks that showed individuals even dragging the cube and showing no fear to touch or remain in contact with any part of the structure
SHARK BEHAVIOUR AFTER 50 SECONDS WITHOUT SPINES:
The results of the experiment were assessed very positively by Dr. Gerimy who suggested testing it with more potentially dangerous species such as Bull sharks (Carcharinus leucas)
Bull Sharks at Riviera Maya
Four months ago, in Playa del Carmen ( Mexico ) biologist Maria Carmen García Rivas, Director of Parque Nacional Puerto Morelos and behaviour specialist joined us to develop some more tests with bull sharks that annually aggregate in the Riviera Maya coast during winter months
This time tests were done at -23m. on a sandy bottom. Considering bull sharks are believed to be responsible for many attacks, surprisingly again behaviour was not only similar to Oceanic black tip but even more precautious when approaching the spines. The rejection demonstrated by the bull sharks was clearly much more pronounced than that of the black tips leading us to conclude that this concept should work with most dangerous sharks.
And again after spines were taken off in less than a minute sharks attacked the bait whatever it was protecting it
After both tests, footage of the experiments was forwarded to other shark experts and their conclusion is that the idea definitely works. Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, great white shark expert from Mexico is considering some potential testing with great white individuals and firmly believes it could also work
Unfortunately while we were celebrating the good news stemming from our scientific endeavors we were informed of very sad news from Reunion island and once again some unfortunate ensuing declarations that have done nothing to reach a solution to the problem.