The West

Doubts over use   of shark  deterrent
Call to action: Labor leader Mark McGowan at Cottesloe Beach with shark attack victim Elyse Frankcom. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Surf Life Saving WA says restrictions on the use of electronic shark shields by children, pregnant women and people with medical conditions would make their widespread use at popular beaches "problematic".

In offering an alternative use for the money being spent on the State Government's contentious shark-kill policy, the State Opposition on Sunday proposed subsidies for surfers and divers to buy shark shields.

It also suggested the Government offer grants to surf lifesaving clubs so they could lease the expensive devices to swimmers, surfers and divers.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said yesterday those most under threat were divers, surfers and long-distance ocean swimmers, so only they would get subsidies to help pay for electronic shark deterrents under Labor's proposal.

Mr McGowan said the average swimmer could buy a shark shield if they wanted to but Labor's proposal was aimed at those at greatest risk.

SLSWA chief executive Paul Andrew said the association was interested in seeing the results of research into how the shark deterrent technology could be used to make WA beaches safer.

But he said SLSWA had reservations about the application of the technology when there was a lot of people in the water.

The State Government has funded research to independently test and improve the current technology.

The drum lines off Cottesloe and North Cottesloe beaches were removed yesterday to make way for this weekend's Rottnest Channel Swim after its organisers asked that they be lifted.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who gave WA an exemption from national laws to conduct the cull, indicated yesterday he was unhappy undersized sharks were dying after being caught on the drum lines.

The West Australian

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