The McGowan Government's personal shark deterrent program, which began in May 2017, has enabled Western Australians to access a $200 rebate on scientifically proven devices through registered retail outlets.
At the start of the program, one device qualified for the subsidy - this was the FREEDOM7™. A second device, the FREEDOM+ Surf, was added to the program a year later (May 2018) after university testing showed it significantly reduced the risk of an encounter with a shark.
Last month, the shark deterrent subsidies were extended by a further 500 with $100,000 committed as part of the McGowan Government's comprehensive shark mitigation strategy.
In the lead up to Christmas, demand grew with 375 devices purchased over the festive period.
Of the 3,000 devices claimed so far about 400 devices have been purchased by surfers, while divers have snapped up the rest of the subsidised devices.
Personal deterrents for surfers and divers help Western Australians bring their sea sense to the beach and stay safe. The Sea Sense campaign, aims to inform ocean users how best they can use the strategies that are in place to help stay safe and enjoy the beach with confidence.
SharkSmart's shark activity map has been improved as part of the campaign. This is the place for water users to get information about shark sightings, tagged shark detections, alerts and safety features at WA beaches.
Water users are urged to help each other by reporting shark sightings to the Water Police on 9442 8600. This ensures that SharkSmart and the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter service can alert the community, and beach managers can close beaches if necessary.
Comments attributed to Acting Fisheries Minister Roger Cook:
"It is fantastic to see more than 3,000 Western Australian surfers and divers taking greater personal responsibility for their safety by purchasing a scientifically proven device.
"These devices can be used anywhere, anytime to significantly improve a surfer or diver's personal safety.
"This is why we encourage anyone who has not yet bought a device to consider purchasing one, with a little under 500 subsidies remaining in the program.
"Personal shark deterrents are just one way that ocean users can use their sea sense to keep safe at the beach. Swimming between the flags and checking the SharkSmart.com.au website before heading to the beach are some other practical things we can all do to keep WA beaches safe.
"This summer use your sea sense to have a great time at our beautiful beaches."