Stellenbosch tests eco-friendly shark barrier

Scientists have come up with an eco-friendly alternative to shark nets.

A shark warning flag in Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University on Monday said it was busy testing a scientific eco-friendly shark barrier which it hoped would save the lives of marine creatures.

Scientists at the university developed the barrier called 'Sharksafe' which can be used as an alternative to shark nets.

Shark nets were introduced to reduce the number of shark attacks on swimmers, but resulted in the death of other sea creatures such as dolphins and turtles.

Shark nets are also not 100 percent safe for humans.

The barrier is made of rigid upright pipes which resemble kelp when it floats in the water.

The university's Head of Botany and Zoology's Professor Conrad Mathee said, "It's basically a black pipe that we anchor to the seabed. We then put magnets inside and because the pipes stand upright, it doesn't lie down with wave action, so it's a permanent barrier and we can basically build a cave at any beach."

According to statistics, shark numbers have decreased in the past 20 years, specifically Great White sharks.