Lighted Surfboard Shark Deterrent Being Tested

Francis YupangcoBy Francis Yupangco 4 years ago
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Surfboard-Experiment-Olivia-Looking-UpIt’s not surprising that surfers in Australia are more concerned about being attacked by sharks. Seals are prey for sharks. Surfers in wet suits floating atop of surf boards can pretty closely resemble seals. Researchers in Australia are testing this theory. Researchers have been recording activity of seals at Sydney’s Taronga zoo and then comparing that to videos and sound recordings of swimmers and people paddling surfboards in the same tank. “What we are trying to do is understand what the shark is interested in and what their natural prey’s signals are, to see if there’s anything to this myth that they mistake surfers for prey,” Hart said. “If we find that the silhouette of a surfboard is an attractive thing, for a shark it thinks it’s a large seal lounging about on the surface, then perhaps by breaking up that silhouette by attaching lights to the bottom we can change that.” The team will test out the theory by placing lights on the bottom of decoy seals to see if they attract fewer sharks. The idea is attaching lights on the bottom of surfboards would act as a very easy shark deterrent for surfers to employ. The trial will take place in May and June in South Africa. MORE

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  Equipment, Fish, Science
Francis Yupangco
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 Francis Yupangco

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Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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