Death metal music attracts sharks, documentary crew finds out
The low, rumbling frequencies of death metal mimic the sounds of struggling fish
A documentary film crew hit upon a novel technique to attract great white sharks – blasting death metal through an underwater speaker.
The Discovery Channel crew, filming for the Shark Week show Bride of Jaws,were on the hunt for a large great white, wonderfully nicknamed ‘Joan of Shark’.
Desperate to feature the 16-foot, 1.6 tonne shark in their documentary, they submerged a speaker to see if the shark would react. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to attract Joan, but did catch the attention of two others, one of which was 12 feet long.
Sharks ‘hear’ by picking up vibrations from receptors on their bodies, meaning they can be attracted to the low-frequency vibrations of heavy music, which apparently sounds like struggling fish.
It’s an odd tactic, but one that’s apparently well-known by shark hunters. Matt Walller, a shark tour operator in Australia, found out that AC/DC records caused sharks to change their behaviour.
When he played the tunes from underwater speakers, the sharks swam straight up to his boat, brushing their heads against the submerged diving cage.
Other than being a boon for metal fans on shark tours, using music, instead of bait, could be more environmentally friendly.
Filmmakers and shark-spotters usually use chum, a mix of fish parts, bones and blood, to attract sharks. By reducing the amount of chum they give to the sharks, humans will be able to reduce their impact on the shark’s natural behaviour.
And concerns that luring sharks with bait can draw them closer to human occupied shores means Pine Knoll Shores, a town on the coast of North Carolina, is currently debating whether to ban the practice, due to eight people already being bitten by sharks in the area this summer.
If the practice of attracting sharks with death metal spreads, record labels could find a lucrative new niche market.