A Warriewood business proposing to replace shark nets with repellent technology has won the backing of Mackellar MP Jason Falinski.
Ocean Guardian, based at Warriewood, has made shark repelling personal protective equipment since 2001 using a patented technology which causes spasms in the highly sensitive electrical receptors in sharks’ snouts.
Now Ocean Guardian is proposing an alternative to shark nets that will keep swimmers safe but avoid killing sharks and other aquatic life including dolphins, turtles and stingrays.
Jason Falinski MP says swimmer safety should always be a priority but shark nets are not necessarily the answer.
“When the community goes to the beach, they want to know they are safe from sharks. Historically, nets have been the tool to do that,” Mr Falinski said.
“However, there is new technology emerging which can do the job better and cause less harm to the marine environment.”
Ocean Guardian Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Lyon says their technology is the world’s only scientifically proven and independently tested electrical shark deterrent.
“Shark Shield Technology creates a powerful three-dimensional electrical field which causes safe but unbearable spasms in shark’s short-range electrical receptors, turning sharks away — including Great Whites. Nothing is more effective.”
Mr Lyon says the environmental impact which nets have on marine life is unnecessary when there are repellent options available.
“There is no question that Ocean Guardian’s technology can be used to replace environmentally damaging shark nets and drumlines to create the safest beaches in the world.”
Lawrence Chlebeck, a marine biologist with Humane Society International, supports the argument that more effective methods to reduce the risk to swimmers are now available.
“Shark nets were first used in Sydney in 1937, meaning there has been 80 years of technological advancement and progress in our understanding of shark behaviour,” he said.
“Last year alone, shark nets in NSW killed 7 dolphins, 6 turtles and 14 critically endangered grey nurse sharks. There are better ways to protect ocean users without taking such a brutal toll on our marine wildlife.”
Ocean Guardian is seeking federal government backing from Mr Falinski to assist them develop their technology. Mr Lyon said that South Africa has successfully used their technology to create a surf-based system, now he wants to do the same here in Australia.
Ocean Guardian sees development of the technology for beach protection as a way for the Warriewood based business to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
“Without the federal government’s JobKeeper program and support from our bank the CBA, there is no doubt we would have struggled to survive the downturn caused by COVID-19. Without JobKeeper we would have drastically cut staff numbers.”
Looking to turn adversity into opportunity, Mr Lyon hopes an environmental protection grant from the federal government will provide the boost needed to help the business develop the technology for beach applications and protect both marine life and swimmers.
Image: Envato & supplied