The Science - Do Shark Repellents Really Work?
You know sharks have superpowers, right? You’ve heard they can smell blood in the water for long distances. It’s true. But did you also know sharks (and rays) can feel the teeniest amount of electricity imaginable? Our patented active element uses that sensitivity against them harmlessly and naturally.
It’s kryptonite for sharks!
Want to Know More?
Over 450 million years of evolution have created one awesome apex predator (sharks!). You may have heard that sharks can smell blood from long distances, which is true, but did you also know that they can sense the most minute electrical impulses? Using sensors called the ampullae of Lorenzini (elasmobranchs like sharks and rays have them), they can pick up ridiculously tiny electric signals. 5/1,000,000,000ths of a volt in fact (yes, that’s billionths). This sense is so ﬁne that sharks can detect the heartbeat of another ﬁsh. Scientists suspect the ampullae of Lorenzini may be used for hunting – ﬁnding other ﬁsh in distress, or in murky waters, or even hiding under sand.
Shark OFF® turns those very senses against the shark – and overstimulates them. While a super low voltage field (like the rapidly beating heart of an injured fish) may attract sharks, Shark OFF’s® higher voltage field repels them. Our patented active element gives off enough voltage to make the shark jerk away from it but it is imperceptible to us. The proprietary alloy that makes up the active element emits an electric field in water of about 1.5 volts – billions of times stronger (literally) than what the shark’s ampullae of Lorenzini can feel. The effect on the sharks is absolutely blinding – but you don’t feel a thing.
Still Not Convinced?
Shark OFF was born in bed. No, it’s not a bad joke. The creators of Shark OFF, Shea & Geoff Geist, were in bed watching TV one night. Along came a PBS program (yup, that’s a plug for public TV) called How To Repel A Shark Attack: Hunting The Elements. Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame - Discovery Channel plug too) was interviewing one of the scientists that discovered the technology used in Shark OFF.
As Mike and Dr. Patrick Rice discussed the shark repellent properties of magnets and rare earth elements, we were totally blown away. We were amazed that we had never seen a product using this technology. Why was this not in beach shops EVERYWHERE?
After pursuing it further, we found that this research was dedicated to the reduction of shark bycatch in commercial fishing and not as a deterrent against human interaction. Inspired by Shea’s debilitating fear of the ocean and the vision of this unmet need, we dove in to bring this amazing technology to beachgoers around the world.
So, here we are. We love to help people overcome their misguided fears and allow them to better enjoy the splendors of the oceans – all while providing education about sharks, the extremely limited risk of shark attack, and their important role in the ecosystem.
Our commitment to the product and the science doesn’t end here. After successfully testing the product ourselves in July 2018 with the preeminent Shark Lab (Bimini Biological Field Station) in the Bahamas, we continue to research and test new alloys. As science evolves, expanding our understanding of the oceans' ecosystems, Shark OFF will take a leading role in bringing those advances, and advantages, to you.
Getting Into It Now?
Exhaustive research has been done into the myriad elasmobranch sensory systems. For the purposes of our research Hueter et al 2004 – Sensory Biology of Elasmobranchs summed up those abilities and offered a relatively simple yet comprehensive explanation of our focus - the ampullae of Lorenzini.
NOAA Technical Memorandum
NMFS-PIGSC-16 November 2008
Shark Deterrent and Incidental Capture Workshop
Science backed by the world's leading researchers
As the PBS special indicated, these rare earth elements caused strong reactions in elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) using their ampullae of Lorenzini against them. Since this discovery many experiments have been conducted. The studies cited below tested differing lanthanide alloys in a wide variety of water temperatures, locations, depths, species, captive animals, wild animals, tanks, pens, baits, and methods. These present strong evidence showing the efficacy of electropositive metals as a deterrent, especially in the environments we see our products most being used – shallower, warmer and lower-visibility waters.
SharkDefense Technologies LLC
NONE of this would be possible without the groundbreaking discovery and continued research of Dr. Eric Stroud and Dr. Patrick Rice at SharkDefense Technologies LLC. While working diligently to save millions of sharks from incidental death, they gave birth to a technology that will help millions experience the ocean with less fear. You would literally not be reading this right now if they had not dedicated their careers to saving millions of sharks accidentally killed by long-line fishing every year.
Shark OFF LLC is proud and blessed to be the sole licensee of SharkDefense Technologies LLC's electrochemical patent 8,951,544 B2 and to have their full support and incredible knowledge backing our work. Check out their website for all the information you could ever want to read on electrochemical, magnetic and chemical shark repellents.
Glutton For Punishment, Huh?
There is no better place in the world for field research on sharks than the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation. Fact check me. I double dog dare you. Dr Samuel "Doc" Gruber and his crew down in the Bahamas are a top notch group of researchers, PHD's, graduates, students, staff and dedicated volunteers. You will find no shark authority more respected than Doc.
Shark OFF LLC is grateful beyond words for all of the help, guidance, encouragement and sincere friendship of such amazing people. Doc, Angela, James, Kristine, Vital, Sofie, Tory and Nikki to name a few will be in our hearts forever. We look forward to many years of testing in the Bahamas, and around the world, to continually make Shark OFF the best.
Robert E. Hueter, David A. Mann, Karen P. Maruska, Joseph A. Sisneros, Leo S. Demski
2004 - Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives
Allan W. Stoner, Stephen M. Kaimmer
2008 - Reducing elasmobranch bycatch: Laboratory investigation of rare earth metal and magnetic deterrents with spiny dogfish and Pacific halibut
Eric Stroud, Patrick Rice, Shark Defense Technologies, LLC
2008 – NOAA Shark Deterrent and Incidental Capture Workshop - A Small Demonstration of Rare Earth Galvanic Cell
Brill, R., Bushnell, P., Smith, L., Speaks, C., Sundaram, R., Stroud, E., Wang, J.,
2009 - The repulsive and feeding-deterrent effects of lanthanide metals on juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus).
Tallack, S. M. L., Mandelman, J. W.
2009 - Do rare-earth metals deter spiny dogfish? A feasibility study on the use of electropositive “mischmetal” to reduce the bycatch of Squalus...
M.R. Hutchinson, J.H. Wang, K. Holland, Y. Swimmer, S. Kohin H. Dewar, J. Wraith, R. Vetter, C. Heberer, J. Martinez
2010 - The effects of electropositive metals on shark catch rates and behavior
W.D. Robbins, V.M. Peddemors, S.J. Kennelly
2011 - Assessment of permanent magnets and electropositive metals to reduce the line-based capture of Galapagos sharks, Carcharhinus galapagensis