'Destroy sharks or watch tourism die'
THERE are calls for an all out shark hunt at Cid Harbour as the Whitsunday region reels from an unprecedented double shark attack.
It comes as 12-year-old Hannah Papps, of Melbourne, clings to life at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.
Hannah was yesterday flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Brisbane for further treatment, where she remains in a critical but stable condition.
In a statement, the Papps family, originally from New Zealand, thanked emergency services personnel and asked for privacy to "focus our energies on Hannah's recovery".
Shark control equipment was deployed in the Whitsundays for the first time by the Department of Fisheries yesterday.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol Shark Control Program manager Jeff Krause said the drum lines are likely to remain in place for at least the next week.
But Dawson MP George Christensen said the measures have not gone far enough, calling instead for a shark hunt to rid Cid Harbour of the predatory fish and restore people's confidence.
"I would've thought that in the wake of two attacks on tourists that to, at very least, try and calm concerns... that we would actually do a hunt for the sharks that caused those attacks and other dangerous sharks, that is bull sharks or tiger sharks in the vicinity of Cid Harbour or anywhere else around there," he said.
"If there are going to be continued shark attacks... it will destroy the tourism industry in the Whitsundays, and thousands of jobs in the process,
"For the sake of some bull sharks and tiger sharks... I'm not going to lose too much sleep over hunting them out of the waters out of the Whitsundays at this point in time.
"But I will start losing sleep if bookings start going south and people start losing their jobs."
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority assistant director of reef conservation actions Dr Mark Read said it was likely the sharks in the area had become confident enough to approach humans.
He said it would be near impossible to know what species of shark, or which specific sharks, were implicated in both attacks
"We don't know why their behaviour has changed to be willing to engage with people in that area," he said.
"Sharks are an important component of the Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem, they play a key role as predators and they are also important to tourism in the reef... they are an important species of the marine park and have a right to be in the ecosystem."
Mackay Base Hospital Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr Pieter Nel said it was "very unprecedented" to have two shark bite patients in two days.
"I've been working here for eight and a half years years and I've never seen a shark bite," he said. "Obviously Mackay is very well positioned to deal with tropical and marine infections and situations like snake bites, we've even had a crocodile bite one day, but to see a shark bite is very unusual for us."
Queensland Yacht Charters confirmed both shark attack victims had been passengers on board vessels under their management.
It is understood Mrs Barwick was pulled aboard Topaz after she had been bitten, while Hannah had been on Miss Devereux with her sister and their father David Papps.
"I thank and commend those who came to the immediate aid of Mrs Barwick on Wednesday and the 12-year-old girl," managing director Mr Christophe Vanek said.
The charter company has warned its customers against swimming in Cid Harbour and the broader Whitsundays "for the foreseeable future".
Mrs Barwick, 46, was yesterday in a stable condition in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital intensive care unit after being airlifted Thursday night.