More surfer shark sub­si­dies

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News -

The WA Gov­ern­ment will dish out sub­si­dies for 500 more per­sonal shark de­ter­rents for surfers and divers to help keep them safe in the wa­ter this sum­mer.

The Gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated $100,000 to pro­vide $200 to each per­son who buys one of two ap­proved de­vices, the Surf+ or the Free­dom 7.

Prices vary, but the Free­dom 7 de­vice re­tails on the in­ter­net for about $500.

Act­ing Fish­eries Min­is­ter Roger Cook said the per­sonal shark de­ter­rent pro­gram had been em­braced by surfers and divers with more than 2800 West Aus­tralians pur­chas­ing a de­vice in the past 18 months.

“The ex­pan­sion of this world­first sub­sidy pro­gram al­lows more ocean users to pur­chase a sci­en­tif­i­cally proven de­vice with the con­fi­dence it will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce their chance of a shark in­ter­ac­tion,” he said.

Ear­lier this year, shadow fish­eries min­is­ter and Vasse MLA Libby Met­tam dis­closed fig­ures show­ing up­take of the sub­sidised de­vices was min­i­mal across the Capes.

Just six of the 1650 sub­si­dies were for peo­ple liv­ing in the Capes re­gion and surfers were un­der­whelm­ingly rep­re­sented in the over­all scheme.

Only 27 ap­pli­cants in to­tal iden­ti­fied as surfers, while 1259 divers and 171 spearfish­ers re­ceived sub­si­dies for the Ocean Guardian de­vices.

“The Gov­ern­ment should stop wast­ing tax­payer funds on a pro­gram for in­di­vid­ual de­vices and for a pro­gram that is clearly not work­ing, and is fo­cused on the in­di­vid­ual and not pub­lic safety,” Ms Met­tam said in Au­gust.“If in­di­vid­u­als want to pur­chase a per­sonal de­ter­rent de­vice, they have the op­por­tu­nity to do so but this should not come at the ex­pense of the tax­payer.”

Ocean Guardian chief ex­ec­u­tive Lind­say Lyon said the de­vice was a good in­vest­ment for surfers.

“If more than 70 per cent of all fa­tal­i­ties are surfers and divers, with the in­ci­dents oc­cur­ring usu­ally in re­mote ar­eas, the only prac­ti­cal and eco­nom­i­cally vi­able way to of­fer pro­tec­tion is a per­sonal shark de­ter­rent,” he said.

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly and Ocean Guardian chief ex­ec­u­tive Lind­say Lyon with the Surf+ de­vice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.