Four sharks have been captured and killed following two attacks in the Whitsundays

A tiger shark Getty Images

Four sharks have been captured and killed following two attacks in North Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands last week.

The ABC reports a 3.7 metre tiger shark is the largest caught since the attacks, but a spokesperson from Queensland Fisheries could not confirm whether the shark was responsible for either incident.

Hannah Papps, a 12-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl and Justine Barwick, a 46-year-old aged-care worker from Tasmania, were both attacked within a 24-hour period last week while they were swimming in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.

Both suffered major injuries and had to be airlifted to hospital, where they remain after undergoing surgery.

Papps is in a critical but stable condition, and Barwick is in a stable condition.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the attacks were not a common occurence.

“Shark attacks in these waters are rare. That’s why these events are so shocking,” he said.

Marine conservation groups have attacked the Queensland Government over the capture and killing of the sharks. The Humane Society said they would take legal action over the use of drum lines in the protected Great Barrier Reef.

A drumline is a trap that uses a baited hook to lure and capture large sharks.

Speaking to ABC news, Sally McAdam, who lives on a boat on Cid Harbour, said that the shark killings were a “knee-jerk reaction”.

“I thought it was quite well known that around the [Whitsunday] Islands it was a shark habitat and swimming was always at your own risk.”

“We could see the Fisheries boat come towards this drumline… we just watched them and they fired another shot at the shark and they tried to pull in the bait line but obviously the shark was still thrashing around from having a big hook in its mouth and it was really quite sad and terrible,” she said.

A couple were sailing in the area when the patrol captured the sharks, and posted these photos of the incident on Instagram.

The ABC has more here.