by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil on 06. 1.11
TRAVEL & NATURE Photo: hermanusbackpackers / cc
Conventional wisdom would suggest that the best way to lure great white sharks is to bait the water with chum, but one Australian ocean tour operator says he's found something that works even better: hard rock. It's been known for a while now that some music has the power to repel sharks, though evidently particular tunes can have the opposite effect -- specifically hits from the band AC/DC. While it may seem a bit far-fetched that the ocean predators would have a soft spot for hit-making Aussie rockers, the logic is actually, well, sound.
According to a report from Adelaide Now, shark tour operator Matt Waller discovered the fish-friendlier alternative to chum, saying music is even more effective at luring great white sharks than ground-up fish. He consulted shark experts and found that the animals are most attracted to sounds within a specific frequency -- and one band seems to strike the right chord.
Great white sharks' taste in music, it would seem, is just as aggressive as their reputation.
"We know the AC/DC music works best by trial and error, and we are doing more research to see what works best with different species of shark," says Waller.
Apparently, sharks are attracted by songs in the low frequency range, and two AC/DC songs in particular are best at working the great whites into a frenzy -- namely the tunes You Shook Me All Night Long and, fittingly, If You Want Blood. Waller, whose business allows tourists to get up close and personal with the ocean predators in shark cages, says the music even gets the sharks head-banging, in a way.
"Quite often we see the sharks on the surface, but most of the time our guests want to get in the cage and see them up close. I've seen the sharks rub their faces on the cage where the sound is coming from as if to feel it," says the tour operator.
Using sound waves to lure in sharks isn't an entirely unprecedented technique. Pacific Islanders have been known to attract sharks by banging together coconut shells submerged in the water.
Certainly, Waller's conclusion that sharks enjoy specific selections of rock music has yet to be confirmed by tedious academic research, but then again, not all great discoveries are made with a stiff upper lip.