WA surfers to access rebate for shark deterrent

PIC: Bigstock

The Western Australian Fisheries Minister has just announced surfers will receive a $200 rebate when purchasing a recently tested shark deterrent device.

From Friday surfers will now have access to a $200 rebate when purchasing the Ocean Guardian Surf+ device thanks to a subsidy program from the McGowan government. 

Following extensive tests of multiple deterrent devices and products it was found the Ocean Guardian products, formally trading as SharkShield, was the only to be scientifically proven and independently tested to deter white sharks.

Yesterday, the Minister called on the New South Wales Government to release a final report about the effectiveness of personal shark deterrent devices, tested by Flinders University. Following calls from the WA Minister, the NSW Government has released the report.

After considering the final report, the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has decided to include the Surf+ device in the subsidy program.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the world-first subsidy program is expected to see many Western Australians purchase the device.

"The research shows that even in extreme circumstances - chummed and baited waters - the Surf+ reduces the risk of a shark interaction with a great white shark by at least 60 per cent," he said. 

"With the addition of this new device, the McGowan Government has decided to extend the rebate for Western Australians to purchase an additional 1,000 accredited devices.

"Western Australians have embraced this program since it was launched in May 2017. I'm sure that with the addition of this new device, we will see even more people purchase a device and significantly reduce their chance of a shark interaction."

The announcement has been welcomed by many in the surfing community, including the family of Secret Harbour shark victim Laeticia Brouwer.

"As surfers, we welcome this latest independent study to validate technology aimed at personal safety in the surf," Laeticia's parents Julie and Leon said. 

"We also welcome the Government's rapid response by including a device specifically designed for surfers to the shark deterrent subsidy.

"This along with a range of other strategies such as increased surveillance and awareness raising should all be part of the management solution."

Two-time World Surf Champion, Tom Carroll, also backed the device.

“As a surfer, I have a deep respect for sharks and the whole ocean ecosystem. With this product, surfers can keep themselves protected without the need for harming sharks and other marine life," he said. 

Ocean Guardian CEO Lindsay Lyon said after rigorous testing the results were no surprise. 

“No safety product, whether it’s a seat belt, bike helmet or shark deterrent can reduce a 100 per cent of risk," he said. 

"This recent research shows that the FREEDOM+ Surf significantly reduces the risk of a shark encounter for surfers in an enticed baited scenario by up to 60 per cent. In the test environment, you’re effectively surfing on top of a dead whale."

The Shark Shield Technology efficacy has been scientifically proven and independently tested time and time again in multiple locations around the world

From Friday surfers will be able to access a $200 rebate through retailers who sell the newly approved shark deterrent device and are registered with the department.

The high-tech kit includes a transferable power module, a tail pad with decal antenna and a charging dock. The transferable power module can be easily moved from board to board.


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