Magnetic Shark Repellant for Fish Hooks

The winner of this year's International Smart Gear Competition and the $25,000 grand prize is a shark-deterring magnetic attachment for commercial fish hooks. According to the World Wildlife Fund, host of the Smart Gear Competition, thousands of sharks die each year on hooks intended to catch deep swimming fish like tuna and swordfish. The winning invention takes advantage of the ability of some kinds of sharks to sense magnetic fields, warding them off from the baited hooks. (See WWF's video clip of a shark responding to a magnet: Windows Media or Real Video) Twenty species of shark are nearing extinction and "[b]ycatch is a major contributor to their decline," says the WWF. Competition winner and developer of the invention, Michael M. Herrmann is a research assistant and photographer at SharkDefense, a New Jersey company that makes shark repellants. :: WWF