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WA Fisheries minister pledges 1000 more shark shields

Mr Petrovic said it wasn’t the first time he had a close encounter with a shark, after almost getting attacked a few years ago at Cockburn Sound.

“Last week’s incident involving a spear fisher who luckily avoided injury, goes to show how important offering personal protection is,” Mr Kelly said.

“A personal deterrent in such circumstances can help keep you safe.”

The announcement follows a pledge of an additional 500 subsidies under the scheme in March.

Around 3800 devices have been sold through participating dive and sports shops across Western Australia since the program’s roll-out in May 2017.

The subsidy is limited to 5000 devices and was introduced just weeks after 17-year-old surfer Laeticia Brouwer was killed by what was thought to be a great white shark off Esperance.

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So far, divers account for most of the subsidised sales, with more than 3190 devices sold to divers in the last two years. Only 600 devices have been sold to surfers.

The scheme gives a $200 rebate when beach-goers purchase one of the two scientifically proven personal shark shields – Ocean Guardian Freedom + surf and Ocean Guardian Freedom 7 – available from registered retailers.

After the subsidy is implemented, the shields can be purchased for $299 and $399 respectively.

“Both of the devices, available under WA’s subsidy scheme, are shown to significantly reduce the risk of an interaction with a great white shark,” Mr Kelly said.

“Offering personal protection, that is scientifically proven, to our most vulnerable ocean users, surfers and divers is just good sea sense.”

There have been 15 fatal shark attacks off WA’s coast since 2000.

Of those deaths, 40 per cent of were surfers.

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