Sharks killed after attacks in north Queensland

Justine Barwick

READ MOREWhitsundays shark bite victims remain in hospital

Baited drum lines were rolled out in the area yesterday after 12-year-old Hannah Papps and 46-year-old Justine Barwick were bitten in separate attacks in the space of 24 hours.

Three tiger sharks have been shot and killed after being caught in drum lines in the Whitsunday Islands in north Queensland, where two tourists almost bled to death after being mauled within 24 hours of each other.

"While sharks of this size are potentially very risky to humans, it is unclear if they were responsible for injuries caused to two swimmers this week", a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman said then.

It is unlikely experts will ever be able to confirm whether any of the sharks that have been killed were responsible for biting the two victims.

"The reaction by the Queensland Government setting drum lines and culling sharks is understandable and in some ways I appreciate it", he said.

Fisheries Queensland set three baited drum lines in the harbour on Friday at Sawmill Bay.

"The message is these waters are not safe for swimming", a Fisheries spokeswoman said.

A fourth tiger shark has been captured in drumlines and killed off the coast of North Queensland where a young girl and woman were mauled by sharks.

Boaties told The Courier-Mail that some people had no idea the first shark attack had occurred and continued to swim in the harbour.

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"We ask that everyone please respect our family's privacy during this very hard time so we can focus our energies on Hannah's recovery".

Fisheries Queensland was expected to provide an update on the number of sharks that have been caught and killed in drumlines later on Monday afternoon.

The rescue helicopter landed on the shore of Whitsunday Island and water police ferried the helicopter's doctor and paramedic out to the vessel Miss Denero.

Others said they were swimming in the popular Whitsundays harbour the following day - with no knowledge of the first attack - when Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps became the second victim.

Objections to the killings are based on the manner of the drum lines, which are a blunt instrument that can catch other marine life - not just potentially risky sharks.

Liberal National Party deputy leader Tim Mander agreed it was the right move, insisting during a press conference on Sunday that "we need to find this killer shark".

Her husband commented on the shark culling operation, saying the issue is "particularly personal to me and my family".

"There are a variety of different species of shark that inhabit that area that can grow large enough to be a potential danger to people", said Dr. Mark Read, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority assistant director of reef conservation.

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