Surfers are flexing their muscle on the French island of la Reunion, laying the blame for a series of deadly shark attacks on a marine reserve there.
The protected area is to safeguard coral reefs. But surfers say it also keeps sharks safe -encouraging their numbers – with the risks that presents.
“We are asking for more concrete measures,” said surfer Ludovic Villedieu.“We are fed up with hearing scientists say that the reserve can’t be the only reason for this proliferation and for these attacks.”
One surfer survived the loss of a hand and a foot in a mauling on Sunday. In late July another surfer died in a separate attack, the latest in a string of shark fatalities. It has triggered a decision to take samples – in other words to kill – 20 sharks.
Environmental groups are outraged.
“All over the world, samples have never been efficient,” said Stéphane Girard, Coordinator of the Sea Shepherd group on the island. “We obviously think that won’t solve the problem of surfing safety here in la Reunion.”
Shark attacks have been on the rise elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, especially in Australia. Surfers are often the victims.