A surfer, assumed to be in his 20s, was killed in a fatal shark attack near Wedge Island, north of the Australian city of Perth, on Saturday morning. The victim was taken by what was believed to be a white shark, while he was surfing approximately 200m off an isolated beach which is about four kilometres south of Wedge Island, according to a statement released by the Department of Fisheries.
Following the incident, which is the fifth fatal shark attack in Western Australia since September, staff have been deployed at the site to catch the shark.
"The 20-metre Patrol Vessel Houtman and the Lancelin District vessel are on the scene and Fisheries and Marine Officers on board have been given the order to set shark capture gear," Shark Response Unit spokesperson Tony Cappelluti said.
"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," he added.
The Water Police is searching for the body and remains of the surfer but according to eyewitnesses the shark took his body and swam to deeper water after the incident.
Multiple sightings of white sharks were reported off the Perth coast in early July but Cappelluti said no further shark sightings have been made in the area, since Saturday's fatal incident. This is the second fatal shark attack this year in this part of the country, which is considered the deadliest shark attack zone in the world.
To monitor shark sightings off Perth beaches and warn surfers or sea-goers of any danger from the marine environment, more than 100 white sharks have been tagged as part of a State Government-funded programme. A tagged shark was detected as close as 600m offshore from Perth's Scarborough Beach on 3 July.