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Published on May 12, 2012

A giant shark that could be up to 20ft long has sent shockwaves across Australian beaches after a great white was nearly bitten in half.

A stunning picture shows a 10ft predator thrashing about with two massive chunks missing on either side of its body, off the Queensland coast.

Experts said its rival may be 20ft (about six metres) long, judging by the size of the huge bites.

I've heard about the big one lurking. Every surfer is always cautious over here.

Surfer Ashton Smith

The great white was savaged after it got snared on a drum line - a baited hook attached to a buoy - near North Stradbroke Island, east of Brisbane.

The wounded creature was still alive when a crew hauled it onto a boat, close to Deadman's Beach.

"It certainly opened up my eyes. I mean the shark that was caught is a substantial shark in itself," Queensland Fisheries' Jeff Krause told Australia's Daily Telegraph.

Swimmers have been warned to stay out of the water near the island.

The attack also worried many at a nearby tourist Mecca - Surfers Paradise, south of Brisbane.

Surfer Ashton Smith, 19, of the Gold Coast, told the Courier Mail: "I've heard about the big one lurking. Every surfer is always cautious over here."

Drum lines and shark nets are used to defend swimmers from sea predators, but they have been criticised for occasionally trapping migrating whales.

Fisheries minister Tim Mulherin told the Mail that the capture of the bitten shark - and the indication of a larger one feeding in the area - bolstered the decision to keep defences in place.

He added there were no special plans to hunt the attacking shark but contractors had reset the drum lines.

Huw Borland, Sky News Online


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