State government offers rebates on personal shark deterrents

Fisheries minister Dave Kelly with Justin Majeks from Surfing WA and a surfboard with the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM+ SURF device attached.
Fisheries minister Dave Kelly with Justin Majeks from Surfing WA and a surfboard with the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM+ SURF device attached.

With surfers carving up the big winter swells rolling in along WA's coast, fisheries minister Dave Kelly has launched a new campaign to encourage more surfers to purchase a personal shark deterrent.

The state government's world-first subsidy program began in May 2017 with the scientifically proven dive device, the Ocean Guardian Freedom7™.

The surf device, Ocean Guardian FREEDOM+ Surf™, was added to the scheme in May 2018 after scientific testing confirmed its effectiveness.

More than 3,700 Western Australian surfers and divers have purchased a personal shark deterrent through the scheme, with 569 of those claimed by surfers.

Regional water users have scooped up about a third of all rebates claimed for both devices, with the majority living in the South West.

The top 10 locations for surf rebates claimed are Mandurah, Albany, Busselton, Dunsborough, Karrinyup. Scarborough, North Beach, Floreat, Hillarys and Ocean Beach.

Figures show almost 50 per cent of surf devices have been claimed by surfers aged between 24 and 44 years of age.

The digital campaign will encourage more surfers to take up the McGowan Government's $200 rebate for approved, scientifically proven personal shark deterrent devices.

Currently the only device for surfers that is scientifically proven is the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM+ Surf™.

The device was tested and proven by Flinders University in extreme circumstances - chummed and baited waters in a known shark aggregation area.

Since 2000, 13 of the 15 fatal shark attack victims in WA have been surfers or divers.