Whitsundays shark attack: Victim's selfless first words revealed

Desiree Burns
September 24, 2018

Mr Barwick said while the family appreciated the offers of fundraising from members of the community, they were not necessary. Three baited drum lines were rolled out in response.

Australian shark protection group, Ocean's Keepers, said there are "better and more efficient methods" than adding three drum lines to the area.

Five tiger sharks and a small black tip shark have been killed in Cid Harbour by Fisheries Queensland since Justine Barwick, 46, and Hannah Papps, 12, received life-threatening bites in separate attacks last week.

Shark victim Justine Barwick has used her first words since the Whitsundays attack to apologise, telling her husband "sorry I have caused so much trouble".

Two more sharks were killed on Monday after being caught in drumlines around Cid Harbour.

A spokesperson from Queensland Fisheries could not confirm whether the shark was responsible for either attack but said it was unsafe.

"However, we have to understand that while there have been two attacks in rapid succession, shark attacks are rare and sharks play an important role in the ecosystem of the Great Barrier reef".

Two of the three tiger sharks killed by Queensland Fisheries following attacks in Cid Harbour in Queensland's Whitsunday region last week.

"The intention is to remove large, risky sharks from the area and reduce the risk to people".

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"During this holiday period, we urge people to exercise caution, stay out of the water and not throw food scraps overboard from boats".

Meanwhile, the family of Hannah Papps have expressed gratitude for the quick actions of those involved in her rescue.

Family Based Care Tasmania said in a statement that while there have been a number of offers to raise funds to help with Ms Barwick's recovery and rehabilitation, the family has indicated that whilst generous it was not required.

One of the country's leading shark experts, Dr Blake Chapman, told 9NEWS; "Any sort of knee jerk reaction going out and killing large numbers of sharks, isn't a good solution". One day in Mackay, 100% of those drum lines did not have any bait.

"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".

Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick is lucky to be alive according to rescuers and nearby holidaymakers who witnessed the woman's ordeal after being bitten by a shark in the Whitsundays.

The state government insists drum lines have been effective and their use is supported by Labor and the Liberal National party in the state. The last attack in the area, however, was eight years ago, and authorities are speculating that both attacks were caused by the same shark.

However, Clarke said there was no evidence that was the case.

The move has once again sparked debate over shark culling with Shark Conservation Australia writing on Instagram the killings were "yet another example of a disgusting knee-jerk reaction". He said his investigation of drum lines showed they were often not even operational.

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