Will Dead Shark Stink Help Protect Surfers?

Jason Lock

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Updated 22d ago

Technology that helps repel sharks in the water has seen mixed results. Sure, leashes have been developed that disrupts a shark's magnetic field, wrist bands that do the same thing too are out there.

Enter Collin Brooker, who thinks he may have found an alternative, more effective way to keep those men in grey suits at bay – and that's by deploying the smell of a dead shark. Now, admittedly, Brooker even states he knows nothing of science, or sharks for that matter, but began his research as anyone else does – thumbing through Google.

Modom released the shark leash a few years back but it's kinda gone quiet...

“I thought if we can make a smell that it doesn’t like that encourages it to move on, we’d have something. Sharks generally aren’t cannibalistic, so I thought a rotten shark might just scare another shark,” he told Wired.

This concept isn't anything new, fishermen have towed dead shark carcasses behind their boats to protect their catch for hundreds of years, but Brooker wanted to develop a more practical application.

So, he called up Cardiff-based pharmaceutical company CatSci (that's Cardiff in Wales, UK) who began “chemically mining a shark sample and mapping 60 possible chemical components responsible for the for the off-putting scent. It then narrowed this down to a possible six chemicals”.

Over in California, one of surfing's forefathers is working on bringing innovative technology to the coastline, that'll act as a shark deterrent.

Over in California, one of surfing's forefathers is working on bringing innovative technology to the coastline, that'll act as a shark deterrent.

Then Brooker, along with his son, recruited divers to test the waters in Fish Hook Bay, South Africa – where there's a natural funnel known for housing juvenile bull sharks. The divers baited the water and swam out, releasing a variety of different mixes. On the second of six attempts, no sharks were seen for five minutes but other marine life remained unaffected.

Now, after investing £250,000 of their own cash, the Brookers are set to launch this product in the near future. No news on whether it'll fend off a charging white. Will it work? Will the likes of Jordy and John John paddle out to sharkier waters with a bag of dead shark scent attached for emergencies? Let's see.