Who Knew? Great Whites Like Heavy Metal Music!


Duuun dun, duuun dun, duun dun, dun dun dun dun…forget the two-note theme from Jaws! It turns out that great white sharks prefer their music to be a little heavier.

Who Figured Out Great Whites Like Metal?

Recently a Discovery Channel crew, who was filming the Shark Week documentary “Bride of Jaws” tried to attract a notorious 16’ foot long great white shark named Joan of Shark by blasting death metal underneath the water. Joan herself declined to make an appearance, but the pumping music did attract two other great whites who decided to come closer to investigate the sounds of Washington DC’s metal band, Darkest Hour.

You can check out this video from the Discovery Channel where they demonstrate!

This isn’t the first time this technique has been successfully used, either. In 2011, Matt Waller, (the owner of the Australian diving operation Adventure Bay Charters), first tested his theory that great whites love heavy metal by blaring AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Back in Black.” Not only did it work, but the great whites who came to rock out acted differently by swimming around curiously, and even rubbing their faces against the speakers.

What Is It About Heavy Metal Music?

It’s not the head-banging that attracts the sharks, however, it’s the low frequency. Sharks can feel the vibrations of sound waves via a sense organ called the lateral line, which runs all the way from their head through the length of their body. And the low growls, vibrating drums, and wicked guitar solos of heavy metal music closely mimic the frequency that is caused by an injured fish.

Granted, the correlation between great whites and heavy metal isn’t necessarily proven, but the tactic seems to have been successful so far. Best of all, it eliminates the need for documentarians and other shark fans to use chum to attract their subjects, which can cause an impact and a human interference on shark’s natural behavior.

In fact, some scientists are worried that this reliance on chum is what originally caused a rash of shark attacks along the North Carolina coastline in the summer of 2015 – attacks that were, for the most part, close to fishing piers or popular fishing spots where plenty of old bait gets chucked into the water.

This led to discussions of banning the use of chum, but the bigger question is, should fishermen be allowed to specifically fish for sharks?

Ban Shark Fishing?

Many coastal communities in the Carolinas, Florida and Louisiana have considered banning shark fishing in areas frequented by swimmers because of an increase in shark attacks. For obvious reasons, this can be pretty controversial. However, you might be surprised to know that several nations around the globe have banned shark fishing completely.

According to SharkStewards.org, the following nations have partial or full bans on shark fishing:

  • Israel (1980) no shark fishing
  • Congo-Brazzaville (2001) no shark fishing
  • Ecuador (2004) no direct shark fishing in Ecuadorian waters, but sharks caught elsewhere may be landed in Ecuador
  • Egypt (2005) no shark fishing and commercial sale of sharks
  • French Polynesia (2006) no shark fishing, with exception of Mako sharks
  • Mexico (2007) no finning; (2011) no shark fishing from May to August
  • Guinea-Bissau (2008) no shark fishing in marine protected areas
  • Palau (2009) no shark fishing
  • Honduras (2010) no shark fishing
  • The Republic of Maldives (2010) no shark fishing
  • The Marshall Islands (2010 no commercial shark fishing or sale of shark products
  • Indonesia (2010) no shark fishing in Raja Ampat
  • The Cook Islands (2012) no commercial shark fishing, sale, or trade of shark products
  • The Bahamas (2011) no commercial fishing, sale, or trade in shark products
  • Marshall Islands (2011) no commercial shark fishing or sale of shark products
  • Tokelau Islands(2011) no shark fishing in territorial waters
  • Sabah, Malaysia (2011) no shark fishing, no possession and sale of fins
  • Brunei (2013) no harvest and importation of shark products
  • Fiji (2013) no shark fishing
  • U.K. Virgin Islands (2014) no commercial fishing of sharks or rays
  • United Arab Emirates (2014) no shark fishing from February 1 to June 30 and banned all imports and exports of shark products
  • Kiribati (2015) no commercial fishing in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area and Southern Line Islands

The U.S ranks 7th globally for the number of sharks caught, according to SharkStewards.org. As divers, we are often thrilled, albeit a bit nervous, when we see sharks. Do you think shark fishing should be banned in the U.S? Let us know in the comments section below!

GiftCertNeed some gift ideas for the divers in your life? Consider a ScubaToys.com gift certificate! Starting at $10 for stocking stuffers up to $250 for some serious gear, your diver will be singing some happy tunes, metal or not, this holiday season!

Image attribution: By Bitey (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Article Name
Who Knew? Great Whites Like Heavy Metal Music!
Discovery Channel videographers and Australian dive operators found that heavy metal music was a safer, cleaner way to attract great white sharks! Check out the video.

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