As the government of West Australia continues to carry out a controversial plan to cull sharks as a way of preventing attacks, scientists say they've found a simple solution that will allow swimmers and sharks to live in peace.
A team from Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS), in collaboration with researchers from the University of West Australia, have developed two unique wetsuits with patterns that deter sharks from attacking with a bit of visual trickery.
According to SAMS, a black and white striped suit designed for surfers changes the way sharks perceive humans in the water, making them less recognizable as a potential prey in the moments leading up to an attack. The second suit, developed for divers, features a design that’s said to make swimmers less visible in the water.
Unlike West Australia’s current method of killing sharks at random with baited drum lines to preemptively avert attacks, the technology developed by SAMS has proven effective under scientific scrutiny.
“We've been live testing with sharks for over a year now,” says SAMS director Craig Anderson to Sky News.
“Given the spate of increased shark attacks, particularly in our part of the world in southwest Western Australia, we feel obligated that we should bring the products to market earlier than what we initially intended to.”
SAMS researchers hope that as the wetsuits are adopted by swimmers and the number of fatal attacks decreases, culling sharks will eventually be phased out.