Lanthanide metals as potential shark deterrents
Sharks comprise a large portion of bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries worldwide. Lanthanide metals have been proposed as shark repellents. This study quantified the normalized voltage of lanthanide metals in seawater and found that there was no difference in normalized voltage among the six tested metals. Temperature and salinity had a significant effect on lanthanide normalized voltage. The output at 18ºC was significantly greater than at both 12 and 24ºC. The normalized voltage was significantly greater in freshwater than brackish or seawater. The dissolution rate for the lanthanides varied from ?1.6 to ?0.2g/h. As the metals dissolved the voltage remained constant. In a behavioral assay, neodymium was ineffective at repelling bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo) tested individually and in groups, and lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in groups. Due to high cost, fast dissolution rates, and lack of deterrent effects, lanthanide metals are not recommended for use in mitigating shark bycatch.