The “toolbox” for defending against shark attacks
At the initiative and under the leadership of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and thanks to impassioned discussions between international experts, a “toolbox for handling shark risks” was created. Its aim is to gather together all existing solutions from around the world for preventing shark attacks, while highlighting the actual risks undergone by people.
A document drafted during a meeting organised by the Oceanographic Institute
In 2013 and 2014, the Oceanographic Institute organised two workshops for international experts on sharks. In the wake of the second workshop, significant research work was carried out and produced this single document, the “toolbox for handling shark risks”.
This document, which overcomes the obstacle of conflict between man and animal, draws up a wide-ranging view of existing solutions and those in development to tackle the risk of shark attacks.
Instead of exterminating every shark in the ocean, this “toolbox” shows that an organised and peaceful cohabitation with sharks is now possible.
Very low risk of fatal attacks
The risk of a fatal shark attack is extremely low at a worldwide level: there are only around ten such attacks per year.
This pales in comparison with the risks associated with sports or with other animals such as mosquitos, which kill over 800,000 people every year.
Only five of the almost 500 species of shark represent a danger to humans, owing to their large size and their diet. Most accidents are caused by great white sharks, bulldog sharks and tiger sharks, which frequently swim near the coastline.
In spite of the low number of accidents, each attack is heavily mediatised, which damages the reputation of sharks.
11 sheets on concrete solutions
There are solutions to the risks posed by sharks. The 11 sheets in this dossier set out a number of initiatives from locations around the world that are known for shark attacks on people. Information, shark forecasts, search and alert, shark watch, shark spotters, separation net, individual repellant, drones and artificial intelligence, detection buoys, anti-shark barriers and radiating cables are the 11 solutions discussed in the “shark toolbox”.
There is no one solution that can be transposed everywhere and whichever system is adopted must be suitable for the local circumstances, as determined by the geography, the species present and their habits, as well as the social context.
Allowing a successful cohabitation between people and sharks
There are thus innovative solutions available today to meet the risk of sharks without exterminating them from the ocean. It must be remembered that these animals are essential for the good health of the oceans.