Baited drum lines have been dropped off Perth’s north in the hunt for a suspected five-metre shark which killed a diver – the second fatal attack in Western Australia in a week.
A woman, 60, was diving at a popular spot about one kilometre off the northern suburb of Mindarie on Sunday morning when she was attacked by what is thought to be a large great white.
Her 43-year-old diving partner managed to get the woman back into their boat, between One and Three Mile Reefs, but she died from her injuries.
Three men who were heading out on a fishing trip and who came to the pair’s aid said the shark was longer than their 5.3 metre boat.
Fisheries officers this morning reset three baited drum lines in the area after the animal was deemed to be “a serious threat to public safety” by the Department of Fisheries (DoF).
“Given the nature of the injuries and the location of the incident, it is likely that a large white shark, greater than three metres in size is responsible,” a DoF spokesman said.
Meanwhile tributes have been paid on social media to the diver, whose name has not been released.
“There was an accident on a private boat with some of my diver friends. My sincere condolences,” Western Blue Dive Charters skipper Michael Forster said on Facebook.
“R.i.p. such a tragedy. Forever diving!” Jake Barker replied.
Shark hunt sparks criticism
The conservation group Sea Shepherd said it was sending a boat to monitor attempts to catch the shark.
The WA Government abandoned its controversial catch-and-kill shark policy after a trial in 2014, but sharks considered to pose a serious threat to public safety can still be killed on an individual basis under order from the DoF.
A 4.2 metre shark was caught last week off Mandurah after surfer Ben Gerring was mauled, although the DoF said it was not possible to tell if the animal was responsible.
Sea Shepherd spokeswoman Natalie Banks said the group was opposed to the policy.
“By killing a white shark in Falcon we are not preventing shark attacks from happening again. We need to do things like signage and medical kits at beaches right now.”