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IUSB building “shark ticklers” to help fishermen

grey and white shark underwater

IU South Bend is building devices to help fisherman in the oceans keep more of their catch, and they have a memorable name.

They’re called “shark ticklers.” Longline fishermen always have trouble with sharks eating their bait, their intended catch, or both.

Shark ticklers are being assembled at IUSB’s Northside Hall and sent off for experiments in waters off the east coast, Mexico, and Hawaii. The shark ticklers emit an electric field that sharks can sense, but other fish cannot. It’s hoped that these devices will deter sharks in the same way that some sonic devices scare birds away from crops in a humane way.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has helped to underwrite the project.


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