Everyone knows that sharks are attracted to blood. For years, researchers and shark divers have chummed the waters with minced fish in hopes of attracting them–but it turns out that AC/DC might work better. Seriously.
According to Matt Waller, a tour operator and fourth generation fisherman from southern Australia, music works just as well as chum. “The first success we had,” he told Australian Geographic, “was with Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long.” He went on to say that a large female great white would appear when he played the Talking Heads classic Sax and Violins. “In truth, sharks have eclectic tastes,” he said, “and are attracted by many types of music.”
As the fear of sharks grows with each publicized attack, many researchers believe that more controlled encounters with sharks–i.e. attracting them with music instead of food–will increase public awareness of the animals. Many species of shark populations are suffering, and researchers hope that awareness will help with protection.
The idea of musically inclined sharks isn’t all that far-fetched, according to a shark specialist from the University of California. Since sharks use their skin as well as their ears to hear, they are susceptible to hearing low frequency sounds that travel farther under water.
The theory has a slightly ridiculous name: the “Yummy Theory.” Researchers believe that sharks might be mistaking the low frequency vibrations for injured fish. Back in 2011, when a reduction in chumming was recommended, Matt Waller lost his chumming license. Struggling to find a way to attract tourists to his shark tours, he heard about the musical attraction technique that was being used off the coast of Guadalupe. Now, nearly five years later, he’s taking out around 2500 people every year, and he’s only using music. He says that the music actually helps to make the people feel more comfortable, as the sharks act differently. “They’re more curious and a lot less aggressive,” he explained.