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Shark attacks deterred by new wetsuit design

Australian team helps surfers and divers appear less delicious to sharks.

By Rich_Maloof Jul 19, 2013 4:20PM

Surfers and scientists have joined league on Australia’s west coast to develop a wetsuit believed to reduce the risk of shark attack.

Shark Attack Mitigation Systems via youtube, http://aka.ms/SAMS Designed by researchers from the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia and shark experts from Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS), which is selling the suits and related watersport products, the new wetsuits capitalize on studies about how sharks see.

MSN Living: Are shark attacks on the rise?

In a “Shark Week”-worthy video clip promoting the suits, a tiger shark is first seen attacking a canister of chum wrapped in typical wetsuit colors. But when the canister is dropped in the water again, this time cloaked in a pattern used for the special suits, a second tiger shark is discouraged from biting and veers away.

“Although sharks use a number of senses to locate prey, it is known that vision is the crucial sense in the final stage of an attack,” SAMS experts explain on their site. “By disrupting a shark's visual perception, an attack can either be diverted altogether or at least delayed to allow time to exit the water.”

MSN Living: Big sharks spotted near surfers off LA-area coast

Two basic patterns were developed to increase shark resistance, each by a slightly different method. “Warning” designs such as the Diverter body suit of dark blue and white stripes discourage the shark from attacking. The developers took a lesson from the nature of predators and prey for this design, having noted that starkly contrasting colors appear to signal to a variety of predators that the prey is either toxic or not edible at all. “Cryptic” designs feature a camouflage pattern, like the seafoam-green and white camo of the Elude suit, which strive to make the wearer invisible to a shark’s eye.

Bing: What are the chances of a shark attack?

The Warning design is recommended to surfers; they should benefit from wearing contrasting colors when spied on the surface from below. Divers are generally advised to use the Cryptic camo pattern to hide in a seascape at depth.

The shark-resistant designs were developed and tested on the western coast of Australia, where five fatal shark attacks have occurred in the past two years.

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Photo: Shark Attack Mitigation Systems via youtube, http://aka.ms/SAMS

11Comments
Jul 24, 2013 5:11AM
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The baby killer whale look might be effective. The great white may have second thoughts if they know that big momma killer whale is close by.
Jul 24, 2013 12:57AM
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All one needs to do is wear an inmate black and white striped suit over top of their wet suit. They will look like a poisoness sea snake.
Jul 24, 2013 12:46AM
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What happens if the shark had ever been around Africa and developed a taste for zebra?
Jul 23, 2013 11:04PM
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What kind of suit should people wear to avoid being savaged in places like Detroit, St. Louis, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.?
Jul 23, 2013 5:25PM
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$450.00!!!  That better be a Semi-Dry suit at the minimum.  Otherwise, it is a HUGE rip-off!  Neoprene is neoprene.  As a diver, I think I would pass on this "development".   I have never been afraid of my underworld environment.  Finally, should I be one of the 10 - 12 annual victims of a fatal shark attack - it is a better way to go doing something I love then at the hands of an ignorant human on land...
Jul 23, 2013 3:41PM
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they  could try that off the  florida  coast  near  Naples  or  venice , its a virtual  highway  for sharks, they even  know the right of way, a  news  helicopter  took  some  pix  of  them  not  30  yards  from  shore where all the  human  food is, yum,    a-
Jul 23, 2013 11:18AM
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Someone created a way to make $ off of fear, again.

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