A “virtual spear” is the latest weapon in shark safety, created by the WA-based company behind the Shark Shield personal electronic repellents for surfers and divers.
Called the eSpear, https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/sharks/ocean-guardian-e-spear-latest-weapon-in-shark-safety-ng-b881115059z with an extendable baton that creates an electrical field with a 1m diameter to deter sharks.
Lindsay Lyon, the owner of Ocean Guardian, which produces the devices, said they were designed for recreational snorkellers, free divers, spearfishing enthusiasts and scuba divers. The first units will hit the market in June.
“It’s primarily targeted at spear fishermen who might have speared a fish or scuba divers when they’re sitting at a decompression stop, and an overly inquisitive sharks comes in,” Mr Lyon said.
“But I think a lot of tourists will want to use one as well.
“We thought about it as a virtual spear, an electronic spear.
“It’s not lethal in any sense.”
Sharks have short-range receptors in their snouts for finding food, but the devices create an electrical field that causes a momentary spasm until it turns away. Research by the University of WA has proven they help reduce the chance of a shark attack.
The electrical field created by the eSpear is smaller than the dedicated surf and dive Shark Shield models, which are backed by a WA Government subsidy, but it is smaller and cheaper, with a retail price of just under $300.
The launch of the new device comes as a trial of so-called smart drum lines continued off WA’s South-West coast around Gracetown, with large sharks to be hooked, tagged, towed out to sea and released.