PREVENTATIVE: Coffs Harbour Boardriders president, Lee Winkler and shark expert Daniel Bucher say Shark Shield should be used in conjunction with other shark safety measures.
PREVENTATIVE: Coffs Harbour Boardriders president, Lee Winkler and shark expert Daniel Bucher say Shark Shield should be used in conjunction with other shark safety measures. Rob Wright

Shark Shield welcomed by local pro surfer and shark expert

A LOCAL shark expert and well-known professional surfer have welcomed the recent development of an electrical shark deterrent designed for surfers.

Shark Shield has been used for years to protect divers but now, with the help of Former World Surf Champion Tom Carroll, the technology can be used to help protect surfers.

Installed near the fins on surf boards, the device works by emitting an electrical waveforms that agitate small short-range electrical receptors in shark snouts, resulting in the animal swimming away.

Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Daniel Bucher said the technology enables surfers to take responsibility for their safety in the surf.

"I'm very much in favour of that sort of approach to mitigating the risk because it puts the cost of mitigating the risk on the individual taking the risk rather than on society or on the sharks themselves and it follows the surfer or diver wherever they go," Dr Bucher said.

"So we aren't putting huge resources into one beach while leaving other beaches unprotected and in particular remote beaches where there's no way you could justify the diversion of a lot of resources to protecting those remote beaches, where a lot of surfers like to go,

"I'm all in favour of concepts like Shark Shield which have been proven by independent scientific tests to have worked."

While the technology offers security in the surf, Coffs Harbour Boardriders president Lee Winkler also emphasised the Shark Shield does not guarantee protection from shark attacks.

"What people need to understand is, especially in our community, that it is a deterrent and its not guaranteed (to prevent a shark attack)," Mr Winkler said.

"Some people will find it's a good thing and others will think its just business as usual."

Mr Winkler said avoiding the surf at dawn or dusk and surfing in clear water are just as effective preventative measures from shark attacks.



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