A barrier to protect humans from sharks


The Shark Safe Barrier ® concept based on biomimicry was conceived in 2011 by Mike Rutzen and marine biologist Craig O'Conell. During different diving sessions with white sharks, they realized that sharks do not swim through kelp forests, even when they are chasing seals. This inspired the idea of creating a barrier that emulated one of these ecosystems to stop movement towards places in the sea where there are people in the sea, replacing anti-shark nets in an ecologically friendly way. For his part, Craig was exploring the use of electro-sensory stimuli to repel these animals from fishing gear and nets on beaches as part of his doctoral project.

The resulting barrier mimics the thick forests formed by algae and combines this with a series of magnetic stimuli to form a barrier that deters sharks from passing through. Most important of all, the barrier does not affect marine life. Specifically, it’s composed of an array of vertical tubes (SSB) which mimic seaweed. The tubes are made from recycled polymers, float vertically anchored to the seabed and extend 25cm above the surface at high tide. Meanwhile, the marine magnetic technology that creates the unique repulsion for the shark is embedded in the outer row of tubes to create an effective magnetic screen.

Some prototypes have already been installed during the period between 2012 and 2016 in the Bahamas and South Africa. In this case, the aim was to test the effectiveness of the technology in stopping bull and white sharks respectively. In these cases the tests showed to be 100% efficient. After that, the first commercial facility was brought to the Reunion Islands in 2019 for the shark safety center (CSR), which consists of an area of 100m22 built with 200 SSB units and is currently operating

In this particular case the biomimicry principles employed are:

  • Replicate strategies that work.
  • Recycle materials
  • Fir form to function

Source: Sharksafe Barrier


What's your reaction?

Add Comment