A world first study on the Central Coast could stop sharks and rays winding up in fishermen's catches.
Having conducted tests with commercial operators in Broken Bay, University of Newcastle marine scientists based at Ourimbah have figured out magnets placed on trap fisher's gear will see the animals steer clear.
Above: Locations where the magnet traps were deployed.
Lead Researcher Dr Vincent Raoult says it's a win-win situation that could have implications worldwide.
"Having these magnets at the traps basically prevented Sharks from entering the traps, and as a result, overall those fishermen caught more of their targeted fish species," says Dr Raoult.
"When the Shark tries to get into the trap, it runs into these magnets and this magnetic field, which acts as a deterrent. It's basically unpleasant for the animal, and they turn away from the trap, effectively.
"In other areas that use trap fisheries - which are a widely used technique across the globe - there is potential for this kind of application to reduce the impact of fisheries on already threatened species of Shark," says Dr Raoult.
While it's also a pretty cost-effective method, Dr Raoult reckons it'll set fishers back around $40 on average, which will pay off across the year given they'll be catching more of the fish they intend to.
The researchers' big news comes as this week is Shark Week.