Welsh inventor says he's cracked the code to fending off sharks. The stink of death!
Who would’ve thought, say, fifteen years ago, that the development of shark repellants would become a boom industry?
Wasn’t the ocean dying? Less fish not more? A desert beneath our toes?
Do you remember the $250 anti-shark leash, a device so magical it prompted one surf website to write: “The streets of Torquay and Jan Juc are abuzz right now. It’s not about a warm wetsuit, or the Sci-Phi or even about stealing Micro Hall as a coach. Instead, surfers are lining up for something much smaller… pros are scrambling to acquire one particular piece of surf tech… The tech? A leash with shark-deterring capabilities.”
Then there was Sharkbanz. The $600 anti-shark tail-pad.
And so on and on.
Of course, they all sucked, at least according to Australian consumer magazine, Choice.
But maybe salvation is nigh, in the form of a Welsh cafe owner who admits he knows “nothing about sharks or science” but who has sold his house, his biz and his pension and poured a quarter-of-a-million pounds ($US350,000) into his version of a shark repellant.
From Wired magazine.
“I was really pissed off at the authorities,” Brooker says, speaking about the 2014 protests that erupted across Brisbane and Western Australia when the Western Australia Shark Cull was implemented, and which Brooker witnessed first hand. The policy was to cull sharks of over 3.5 metres, and as the majority of sharks in that area are in excess of four metres, Brooker saw this as a general attack on the entire species. “I thought, ‘’We’re the most intelligent species on the planet, there has to be a better way of resolving this conflict,’” he says.
Hoping that if sharks could be persuaded to leave humans alone, such measures would no longer be necessary, Brooker put his thinking cap on, and he and Simon sold their stakes in their Cardiff properties and sank everything into developing the Podi. The device, which can be attached to a surfboard or worn on the person that slowly, releases a chemical based on the scent of dead shark. This chemical continuously dissolves in water, providing a potent, and potentially life-saving, repellent. With Podi, the Brookers’ aim is to prevent sharks from wrongly being killed, while also preserving reefs and wider marine ecology.’
“Brooker admits that he “knew nothing of sharks, or science” yet he did what anyone would do in his position: he took to Google. A comprehensive trawl of the internet told Brooker that not only were most current shark defence systems expensive, the majority only worked in close-proximity, a range which Brooker believes is too dangerous. Or, as he puts it “Not even a double-barrelled shotgun will stop a white shark when it’s a metre and a half away in attack mode.”
Brooker sought a more logical approach, beginning with the assumption that, like every animal in existence, a shark can be persuaded to flee as an act of self-preservation. The key to encouraging such behaviour was stimulating its most powerful sense. Many sharks can detect their prey at one particle of DNA in 10 billion, while a white shark can smell prey up to 1.8 miles away. Using a shark’s own sense of smell against it, it seemed, was the answer.
“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,” says Brooker.
Long story short. Brooker’s Eau de Fuck Off Sharks is eighteen months from completion.
“We’re risking everything,” says Brooker.
Do you believe? Or he crazy?