The clock is ticking for ocean users to capitalise on the West Australian government’s personal shark deterrent subsidy.
On January 9, the state government released new uptake figures for the offer and urged beach goers to get in quick, as less than 500 places remain.
The shark shield program was an election promise of the McGowan Government, which will pay a $200 rebate on a capped number of shark deterrent devices sold.
According to acting fisheries minister Roger Cook more than 3,000 WA surfers and divers had purchased a device through the scheme since it opened in May 2017.
The scheme received a further boost on December 23, when an extra 500 subsidies were made available through a $100,000 funding injection.
The government’s recent commitment and focus on the issue has came after the Mandurah Mail revealed that despite surfers were slow to embrace the deal, despite being the main victims in attacks.
In an article published on November 28, the Mail disclosed that only a total of 95 people in the City of Mandurah had purchased a device through the scheme.
At the time, fisheries minister Dave Kelly said the government were “pleased with the uptake of the personal shark deterrent devices”, in the face of only 310 of people who capitalised on the rebate being surfers.
As on January 9, about 400 devices have been purchased by surfers, while divers have snapped up the rest.
According to Mr Cook, demand grew in the lead up to Christmas with 375 devices purchased over the festive period.
“These devices can be used anywhere, anytime to significantly improve a surfer or diver’s personal safety,” he said.
“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.”