THE State Government will provide a subsidy for personal shark deterrent devices.
The world-first rebate scheme, which starts today, offers $200 for the first 1000 independently verified shark deterrent devices bought from retailers registered with the Department of Fisheries.
This includes the FREEDOM7 from Joondalup-based Shark Shield.
“This is a significant step forward for governments in recognising those most at risk – surfers and divers – need individual deterrent protection,” Shark Shield chief executive Lindsay Lyon said.
“Ensuring proven electrical deterrent devices such as Shark Shield are more readily available to those most at risk will greatly improve ocean sport safety and save lives.”
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly urged surfers and divers to take part in the subsidy scheme “to help further protect themselves from the risk of a shark attack”.
“It is not practical to have beach enclosures at every surf break or dive location along our coast,” he said.
“That is why offering individual protection to surfers and divers makes the most sense.”
The scheme is part of the government’s Beach Safety Package, which also included grants for councils to install beach emergency numbering signs.
Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton said these would “make it much easier for emergency services to attend an incident by having the exact beach location”.
The package also includes beach surveillance drones and ongoing funding for Surf Life Saving WA’s beach and aerial patrols.
Burns Beach MLA Mark Folkard said improving shark-spotting services would “reduce the risk swimmers may face”.
“By allocating more funding to tracking sharks, we will not only be able to understand the issue of shark safety but will also be able to offer swimmers greater warning,” he said.
For registered retailers, go to www.sharksmart.com.au.