A 17-year-old boy has been killed by a great white shark in Perth, Australia.

Jay Muscat had been spearfishing with his friend Matt Pullella at Three Stripes – a popular site for the sport at Cheynes Beach, near Albany – when he was attacked by the shark at 12.20pm local time on Monday (29 December).

The teen was bitten on his leg and died of his injuries shortly after being transported back to shore by a passing fisherman.

Pullella, who shot at the 4-5m shark with his speargun, escaped injury.

Department of Fisheries director Rick Fletcher said it was believed to be a great white shark because of the size of the injuries on the teenager's leg.

"Based on the reports and the advice we had about the injury it appears that it was a very large shark, probably 4-5m and probably a white shark," Fletcher said.

"It appears that the shark swam past one diver and bit the other on the leg which resulted in fatal injuries to the diver.

"It is possible that the shark was injured during the attack, therefore what we're going to do is do patrols on the beach as well.

"This is obviously an extremely tragic event for all the families involved and our sympathies go out to those particular families."

A great white shark sighting was reported in the area about an hour and a half before the attack, and it is understood a shark was seen off the beach and at Three Stripes on Saturday.

Cheynes Beach remained closed until further notice.