SharkSafe Shark Barrier

SharkSafe Shark Barrier

Technology Description

This innovation aims to provide effective shark-deterrence by arranging multiple elongate barrier members in the ocean so as to have a thicket-like appearance when viewed from within the water. members are manufactured from a material on which algae grows well. The thicket-like appearance of the barrier in combination with algae growth on the members allows the barrier to resemble a kelp forest. Research has indicated that kelp forests deter certain species of sharks and that sharks generally avoid entering into kelp forests.

To enhance the effectiveness of the shark barrier, magnets are arranged along the length of each member. It has been shown that magnets deter a number of shark species, including great white sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, and rays. Plastic tubes containing high density foam may be used as barrier members in order to provide floatation.

The innovation thus provides an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to conventional anti-shark devices such as shark nets, drum lines and exclusion nets.

  • Members are capable of resisting oceanic tidal currents.

  • The barrier can be used to protect relatively large areas.

  • Environmentally friendly: use of the barrier is not detrimental to sharks or other aquatic creatures.

  • Materials used allow for algae growth.

The innovation proposes a shark barrier comprising multiple, preferably interconnected, elongate members extending from the sea oor to the sea surface. The magnets provided on the members exploit the sensitivity of the Ampullae of Lorenzini in sharks by over-stimulating their electro-sensory systems, while not affecting bony fish.


Target Industries

Municipalities, local government, marine environmentalists and conservationalists.

Unique Features/Benefits

  • The combination of a thicket-like appearance and the magnetic effect provided by the shark barrier enhances the effectiveness of the barrier.

  • Articulated member con gurations allow slight movement as a result of oceanic currents, without causing an entire member to shift horizontally.

  • No risk of animal entanglement exists.

Innovation Status

We have patented this technology.  

Principal Researchers

Prof. Conrad Matthee, principle researcher at the Evolutionary Genomics Group at Stellenbosch University.

Sara Andreotti, PhD candidate at the Evolutionary Genomics Group at Stellenbosch University

Craig Patrick O’Connell, PhD candidate at the University of massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Michael Rutzen, expert shark cage diving operator. 


We are looking for investment into our spin-out company and customers.  

Available for licensing


Spin Out Company


Nolene Singh


Registered IP