Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Putting Shark Repellent to the Test

That's what Coastal Carolina University scientist Craig O'Connell has been up to lately.

The shark population is dwindling as nearly 100-million are killed every year by bait hooks and fishing nets.

Craig is creating something to put on fishing lines, so sharks avoid them.

Just as he knows what attracts sharks, he also knows what repels them, and after years of studies and experiments in the Bahamas, the shark scientist says their repellents work. Sharks sense them as potential danger.

"It's very exciting. This has always been a passion of mine, to help save sharks, ever since I was a kid," said Craig.

He has three types of shark repellents: a magnet, electropositive metals, and a chemical extracted from dead sharks.

He tried them for us on the dogfish shark. The metal provoked a small reaction and the chemical, a bigger reaction.

"We are making a lot of progress, and we are repelling sharks, so that is definitely beneficial," said Craig.

He said it will also benefit sharks as well as fishermen, who snag sharks by mistake.

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