The man’s surfboard was found but not found, police said in a statement.
Shortly after the attack, authorities received a public report about a shark watching on the beach, the DPIRD said. The species was unknown.
The beaches in the area have since closed. The water police are conducting a maritime search and rescue operation, with additional vessels deployed to assist.
There have been at least six deadly shark attacks on the country’s beaches this year, according to the Australian Shark Attack File at the Taronga Conservation Society Australia. There were no fatal shark attacks in Australia last year and only one in 2018, according to the society database.
McGowan said the state’s south coast, especially near Esperance, was a well-known breeding ground for sharks such as whites.
Esperance is located about 720 kilometers (447 miles) southeast of the capital Perth, and is a popular diving spot.
There have been many shark attacks near Esperance in recent years – most notably in 2017, when 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer was killed while surfing with her father.
Many attacks have also been reported in other Australian states, such as Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania in recent months.