Hunt under way for great white killer

ATTEMPTS are being made to catch and cull the ''massive'' white shark that killed a male surfer south of Wedge Island in Western Australia.

The fatal attack occurred at 9am (WST), 4 kilometres south of the island, which is a family holiday hotspot about 160 kilometres north of Perth.

The victim, whose identity is yet to be released, was surfing about 200 metres off an isolated beach, the WA Department of Fisheries said.

Police said the victim was 24 years old and from Perth. They were yet to speak with the victim's family.

Shark Response Unit spokesman Tony Cappelluti said patrol vessels were on the scene and officers had ordered shark capture gear to be set.

''When last seen, the shark was heading offshore, but we have placed baited lines in the water near the attack site, in an attempt to catch the shark should it return to the location or pose a threat in the area,'' Mr Cappelluti said in a statement.


Eyewitnesses told police they had seen the shark swim out to deeper water after the attack and there had been no further sightings.

The shark capture lines would remain in the water for the rest of the day and a decision would be made before nightfall whether to remove the gear, Mr Cappelluti said.

''Any further use would be dependent on any new shark sightings, operational assessments and weather conditions,'' he said. ''The local shire has closed beaches in the area and will reassess that decision at some stage tomorrow, depending on whether there are further sightings or not.''

A jet skier who tried to retrieve the body said, ''There was just blood everywhere. I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet ski and tried to throw me off.

''I did another loop and when I came back to get the body, the shark took it.''

It is the fifth fatal shark attack off the WA coast in the past 12 months. AAP