Please Don't Eat Me


Wed, 28 March 2012

Surfboard signs for sharks and the semantic activism of Conn Bertish promises to turn the apex predator relationship on its head. Sharks make 90 billion kills a year. Unfortunately, for them, five are human. Pics by Etienne Kallos


For the last eleven months, The South African Surfers Call Research Laboratory (SASCRAL) have been developing new technologies aimed at debunking the ridiculous fear humans seem to have regarding sharks”, said Conn Bertish, a BSoc Sci Graduate of UCT.

Together, he and his team have developed a first-to-world innovative shark repellent device, using the sciences of chemistry, paleontology and method-linguistics. The repellant, dubbed ‘Shark Bro’ has a success rate of 100%.

“My team and I have been field testing Shark Bro for the last 8 months and none of us have been killed or even mauled," said Conn.

To launch the product, Conn gave a demonstration of the repellent device to the world's media by paddling a surfboard across the 2Oceans Aquarium Shark Tank on Monday.

The method-linguistics aspect of the device was developed by a team of leading SASCRAL experts from the top global institutes in the field. Brilliantly simple in its astounding complexity, the "I'm not a seal" and "Tastes Like Broccoli" san-serif text on the bottom of the boards gave an unambiguous message to the sharks - "please don't eat me, I'm not worth it".

It's actually incredible that until now no institute has come up with such a direct shark-to-human approach in dealing with the shark issue, and it makes shark nets and shields seem very last-century in comparison. Shrouded in scientific obscurity, the paleontological and chemical properties of the device were less easy to comprehend by a mere journalist, yet they clearly contributed to the overall functioning of the device, because the shark-test dummy paddled fearlessly around the tank, completely unmolested by the oceans' apex predator.

Comments on the Shark Bro Face Book page showed a range of perspectives on Conn's demonstration:

the respectful: "You sir are an Officer and a Lunatic. God Bless You Kaptein Koen."

the patriotic: Jissus, boet!! ... hope it goes well … I will be rooting for you, not the sharks!

the selfish: "Conn, if the shark fu*king eats you, who's going to be our MC, hmmmm?"

the missed the point: "A more meaningful publicity stunt would be to invite the media to witness a paddle around Seal Island. Then I would most definitely attend as it would be a farewell gathering. I hope the device works as much as the next water-user - but the aquarium is not a test!"

True to their marketing campaign, the Shark Bro had a 100% success rate on the day. This is great breakthrough in our understanding of shark behavior - they are a lot smarter then we think.

However, it's an even greater breakthrough in our understanding of ourselves - we are not nearly as smart as we think we are.

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