SharkGuard is an experimental product created by Fishtek Marine. As elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and ray) possess highly sensitive electroreceptors in their noses, they actively avoid electrical currents with a field strength greater than 10V/m. SharkGuard therefore works by sending out electrical pulses that deter elasmobranchs, without interfering with target catch.
SharkGuard is a small device, powered by a single AA battery, which according to Fishtek makes the device ‘operationally affordable, costing only a few cents per hook set.’
Phase I sea trials were conducted in pelagic longline fisheries in the Mediterannean in January 2016, achieving a reported >90% reduction in elasmobranch bycatch. Fishtek conducted commercial trials in July and August 2021 with two vessels targeting bluefin tuna in Southern France. Lines fitted with SharkGuard devices were found to reduce bycatch of blue sharks by 91% and pelagic stingrays by 71%. Work is now underway to address the technical limitations of the SharkGuard, including an at-sea charging solution to reduce how often batteries need to be changed and increase ease of use.
Interested in how this and other measures could mitigate bycatch in your fishery? Get in touch with us to collaborate or take part in a study.
This page was last updated on 14.06.23.