ENVIRONMENT
10/05/2013 09:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Shark Shield Offers Discount To Reunion Island Surfers

TIGER BEACH, BAHAMAS - NOVEMBER 26: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Lemon shark cleaned by shark sucker fish, on November 26, 2008 in Tiger B
TIGER BEACH, BAHAMAS - NOVEMBER 26: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Lemon shark cleaned by shark sucker fish, on November 26, 2008 in Tiger Beach, Bahamas. Shark shepherd Jim Abernathy has spent an incredible 35 years interacting with sharks underwater and BONDED with some of the largest and most fearsome predators ion the seas. The 52-year-old, from Florida, has won the trust of many individual sharks - so much so that they follow him around like meek puppy dogs. He loves the animals so much - spending 320 days a year with them for two decades - that he has even shunned the idea of finding true love with a GIRLFRIEND or WIFE. Using his incredible relationship with sharks he has managed to capture extraordinary close up pictures of the wild predatory fish in their natural habitats in the Bahamas, Mexico and South Africa. During his career he has dived with schools of up to 20 tiger sharks - a species known as one of few man eaters - 24 basking sharks, 70 lemon sharks and a massive 350 Caribbean reef sharks. Other images show him up-close-and-personal with 15foot tiger shark Emma. His new book 'Sharks Up Close' tells the story of the larger sharks of the world and aims to educate about the importance of the animals' conservation from fishing and is available on hardback for £15.75 from Amazon or www.scuba-adventures.com (Photo by Jim Abernethy / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

When two enormous tiger sharks were trailing Meredith Novack on her record-breaking swim from Lanai to Maui last month, she claimed the only thing that kept her alive was her Shark Shield, a device that uses electric waves to fend off the predators.

Shark Shield shares her confidence. The company announced this week that it will give 30% off its Shark Shield Surf 7 device to the first 300 surfers willing to get back in the shark-infested waters of Reunion Island.

Reunion Island, near Madagascar, banned swimming, body boarding and surfing this summer after suffering 10 shark attacks in two years, three of which were fatal, including the death of a 15-year-old girl and a famous local surfer.

The ban was lifted Oct. 1, and by encouraging surfers to get back in the water using its product, Shark Shield is employing a high-stakes publicity strategy that could either pay off swimmingly or backfire bloodily.

The Shark Shield uses two wave-emitting electrodes that create a protective field around a swimmer, diver or surfer. Sharks have gel-filled sacs called Ampullae of Lorenzini, which they use to sense electrical fields given off by possible prey. When a shark senses the electric wave caused by the Shark Shield, the intense discomfort causes the shark to swim away.

The product comes in three versions, one that attaches to a diver or fisherman’s ankle, another that mounts on a board, and a third specifically designed for military or technical divers.

tiger shark

The company claims that in a 2012 study in South Africa, a seal decoy hanging off a boat caused 16 great white shark breaches. After scientists turned on a Shark Shield, the decoy was used again and no sharks breached.

Along with the swimming and surfing ban, Reunion Island simultaneously implemented a widely-criticized shark culling program, planning to kill 90 sharks in an effort to curb attacks.

Shark Shield sees its product not only as a lifesaver for humans but also for sharks. If the shield can prevent attacks, culling programs will no longer be perceived as a necessary solution to shark attack crises.

The “Surf Any Break Without Intimidation” promotion is only available for the month of October. Surfers can buy the Shark Shield Surf 7 at a discounted rate of $399 on the Shark Shield website by using the promotional code “SURF-REUNION.”

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