Sharks are not the bloodthirsty sea creatures Jaws made them out to be! In fact, it’s usually an accident when they bite some dim-witted human being splashing around in the water. So we should minimise unintentional harm towards them, too.
That’s where these new shark-repellant SMART hooks come in. Scientists have developed this new type of rig, called the “Selective Magnetic and Repellent-Treated” Hook, which is coated with a special metal that produces a measure of voltage in seawater. The hook’s magnetic features interfere with the highly sensitive electrical senses in a shark’s nose, causing them to stay away while other species of fish (like tuna, who do not have this electrical sense) still take the bait on the hook’s end.
Under a grant from the National Science Foundation, student researchers at the Florida Keys Community College tested these SMART hooks extensively on bonnethead sharks, where results showed a 94 per cent reduction in accidental shark catches with the large-sized hook. [LiveScience via TreeHugger]