Monday, December 15, 2014

That's a Big Shark!

Massive shark photographed swimming near surfers at Killacare on the Central Coast

IT’S enough to make a surfer cringe – a massive shark swimming nearby and you’re completely unaware.

This picture was taken on the Central Coast on September 17 at Killcare by drone pilot Tom Caska.

It shows a massive shark following a pod of dolphins right near where people are surfing. They are on 3m long SUP boards, which gives an indication of its size.

There’s no word yet on what kind of shark it was but it’s not the first sighting of a large one on this stretch of coast this month.

Just a week earlier, a great white shark measuring about three metres long circled a boat in Lake Macquarie.

Daryl Evans of Floraville and Kerry Thomas of Pelican spotted the shark about while anchored at a spot known as The Barge, about halfway between Coal Point and Belmont.

‘‘My first thought was ‘We need a bigger boat’,’’ Mr Evans told The Newcastle Herald.

‘‘We had a mesh fish keep hanging overboard that keeps the fish alive until you clean them, so I grabbed that because if the shark got there first we could have capsized.’’

The friends were in a four-metre tinny for their weekly fishing trip and had only been anchored at The Barge for an hour when they saw the shark about one metre under the surface following a berley trail up to the boat.

‘‘It circled the boat about six times, from about 10 to 15 metres away until he was about 1.5 metres away,’’ Mr Evans said.

The shark returned about 20 minutes later about three metres under the water and circled the boat once.

‘‘I’ve been fishing for 45 years and that is the first time I’ve seen a great white in the lake,’’ Mr Evans said.

Paul Wilcox, 50, died at Byron Bay earlier this month when he was bitten by a shark while swimming off the town’s main beach.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It will be interesting to see if this is truly effective

Hi-tech 'punch' on nose for sharks could keep swimmers safe
High tech system exploiting shark's nose
An electronic barrier seeking to exploit the super-sensitivity of a shark's snout is shown in this handout photo provided by the South African Institute for Maritime Technology. (AFP Photo / South African Institute for Marine Technology)

By:  Relaxnews

CAPE TOWN (AFP) -- A high-tech version of the reputedly life-saving punch to a shark's nose is being tested in an effort to protect humans without harming the toothy predators or other sea creatures.

In the blue waters of a small bay in Cape Town, a revolutionary experiment with an electronic barrier seeks to exploit the super-sensitivity of a sharks' snout to keep swimmers and surfers safe.

The technology has been developed by South African experts who invented the electronic "shark pod" for use by surfers and divers -- now marketed by an Australian company -- and could be applied globally if successful.

The pod and years of research have shown that sharks will turn away when they encounter an electrical current -- and that has prompted this experiment on a much larger scale.

A 100-metre cable with vertical "risers" designed to emit a low-frequency electronic field is in the process of being fixed to the seabed off Glencairn beach, and will remain there for five months.

"If successful, it will provide the basis to develop a barrier system that can protect bathers without killing or harming sharks or any other marine animals," says the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, which developed the shark pod.

As for humans, "if someone touched the small part of an electrode that is exposed, they might experience a tingling sensation" but would suffer no harmful effects.

The barrier would mark a major shift away from the shark nets used in KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa's east coast for the past 50 years, which also kill other animals and have been criticised as environmentally destructive.

'Doing our damndest'

Research has shown that sharks have a gel in their noses which makes them more sensitive to electrical currents than other species, and thus ordinary fish and sea life such as seals and dolphins should not be affected by the barrier.

"We are doing our damndest to do something environmentally friendly," sharks board project specialist Paul von Blerk told AFP.

But the challenges are huge.

"It is easier to design things to put in space," said Claude Ramasami, project manager at the Institute for Maritime Technology, which is helping the sharks board put its plans into practice.

This is because of the relentless power of the sea, shifts in the seabed, undersea structures and marine life -- and simply using electricity in water.

One reason that Glencairn in the Cape was chosen as the site for the experiment is that it is relatively protected compared to the often pounding surf on the tourist beaches of KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is the provincial capital.

The clear waters will also enable fixed cameras and shark spotters on nearby cliffs to monitor the movements of the predators within the bay and see whether the barrier turns them away from their usual cruising routes.

There should be no shortage of action -- in a 25-day observation period, 53 sharks were seen off the beach.

Environmentalists have welcomed the experiment.

Alison Kock, a biological scientist and research manager for Shark Spotters in Cape Town told AFP it was "a really good idea".

"It's an exciting opportunity to look at new technology with the ultimate aim of replacing lethal control methods like shark nets and (baited) drum lines.

"The technology is really specific in that it targets a sense that only sharks and rays have. Mammals like dolphins and whales don't have a sense like this, so they are not going to be affected," she said.

The gel in the noses of sharks allows them to detect minute electrical fields such as a heartbeat to find prey in murky water, but as they approach within a couple of metres of the barrier the power should be enough to turn them away.

The senior manager for WWF's marine programme in South Africa, John Duncan, said the organisation was "absolutely supportive of interventions which attempt to manage human-animal interaction in a non-fatal and non-impactful way.

"And at the moment it is a growing challenge with the white shark attacks in South Africa."

Sharks have killed 13 people in South Africa over the past 10 years, Kock said.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Local Support Keeps Us Going

Ron Rocks Sharkcamo on his Knee Board

Let us know what you ride, we will create a decal to fit.