Shark deterrents can't eliminate attacks

Early research in WA shows bubble curtains and loud sounds are not deterring sharks, but an electrical surfboard attachment is showing promising results.

There is nothing ocean lovers can buy to eliminate the risk of being attacked by a shark, researchers have found.

Preliminary research by the University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute suggests electronic anklet devices, bubble curtains and loud sounds including killer whale calls have a limited or insignificant effect in deterring sharks.

But there are promising early results from testing of the surfboard-based Shark Shield, which emits electromagnetic pulses to deter a range of shark species including tiger sharks and white sharks.

During trials, the Shark Shield worked nine out of 10 times, but no deterrent on the market could be 100 per cent effective, research leader Shaun Collin said.

"The public should always be aware of that and try to reduce the risk by being educated about sharks, how dangerous they can be and take some responsibility for their own safety," Professor Collin said.

Premier Colin Barnett said the research would better inform people looking to buy a shark deterrent.

"People should not be placing false hope in devices that do not work," Mr Barnett said.

The premier also defended the government's controversial 2014 drum-line program, which resulted in the capture of 172 sharks before it was dropped.

"Put yourself in my place, seven West Australians had died in three years," he said.

"There was fear in the community, surf clubs were losing members, people were afraid to go into the water, young people were afraid to go out surfing - I had a responsibility to act as premier.

"I was criticised for that but I also got a huge amount of support."

WA continues to implement its policy to catch and kill any shark larger than three metres that poses an imminent threat to public safety.

Source: AAP