According to a report from Surfer magazine government officials of France’s Réunion Island have released a plan in response to a spate of fatal shark attacks. There have been five fatal attacks in Réunion’s waters since 2011, including two fatalities in the past 4 months this year.
The government plan includes a call for 90 sharks to be killed, between now and October 1, as part of a “scientific ciguatera program to assess the marketing objectives of sharks in Réunion Island.” Ciguatera is foodborne illness associated with eating fish at the top of their food chain. GrindTV reports that the plan specifically will target 45 tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) and 45 bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas). The article also points out that the ciguatera program could be perceived as an attempt to mask the shark cull under the guise of science.
In addition to the shark cull, the plan also includes a ban on swimming, bodyboarding, and surfing along the coastal strip within 300m of the shore. Exceptions to the ban will allow such activities within the “shallow lagoon” and supervised areas determined by the government. Violations of the ban will be subject to a fine of 38 Euros (approximately $51 USD).
Readers commenting on the Surfer magazine articles offer up different points of view on the situation. While the ban on surfing seems to be met with a fairly unified negative response, there is a range of views concerning the tiger shark and bull shark populations around the island. If you have an opinion that you’d like to share on the response plan, feel free to do so in the comments section below.