Cape tests KZN’s electronic shark repellent technology

2014-09-16 00:00

ELECTRONIC shark repellent technology is set to come to KwaZulu-Natal after tests are completed in Cape Town.

The KZN Sharks Board (KZNSB) have announced the tests of the Electronic Shark Repellent Cable off the coast of False Bay to start in October.

KZNSB spokesperson Harry Mbambo said the technology will first be tested in Glencairn Beach in False Bay.

“The main aim is to bring the technology to Durban. It is being tested in Cape Town because KZN sea conditions are rougher than Cape Town. There are more sharks off the Cape coast and there are sharks spotters in Cape Town, facilities we do not have,” he said.

The technology could also provide an alternative to shark nets and drumlines deployment.

Lifesaving South Africa spokesperson, James Ross called it a “fantastic idea” because a lot of shark die when they get stuck in nets. “This would be an eco-friendly option,” said Ross.

The KZNSB received a permit from the Department of Environmental Affairs to test the 100-metre cable. It will be installed parallel to the shore at Glencairn beach in early October and will be activated from the beginning of November on certain days until the end of March 2015.

Similar technology developed by the KZNSB in the 1990s is called Shark Shield, personal shark repellent devices that divers around the world wear to reduce the risk of shark attacks.

After medical evaluation showed that the electronic pulse emitted was expected to be well within conservative safety limits, a full-length demonstrator cable was constructed.

KZNSB CEO Mthokozisi Radebe stressed that the research cable will not offer any protection to bathers from sharks, as it has been deployed in such a way that will not exclude sharks from approaching Glencairn beach.

But, “If this system works, it will keep sharks and bathers at a safe distance from each other without harming either,” he said.

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