France increases Reunion shark fishing after surfer death

April 24, 2015
People surf off the coast of Trois Bassins on the western coast of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion on April 17, 201
People surf off the coast of Trois Bassins on the western coast of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion on April 17, 2015

France said Friday it has approved increased fishing of tiger and bull sharks in the marine reserve of its African island territory of Reunion after a teenage surf star was killed.

Visiting the Indian Ocean island, the minister for overseas territories, George Pau-Langevin, said the government was launching eight initiatives to reduce following the death of 13-year-old Elio Canestri on April 12.

The plans include increased surveillance and protection nets, as well as a 50 percent boost in authorised shark-fishing trips.

"In no way does this mean eradication—that is unrealistic and would be contrary to France's commitments to biodiversity," said Pau-Langevin.

The government said it will also boost funding to scientific projects aimed at monitoring shark movements and populations around Reunion, which lies off the coast of Madagascar.

Canestri, one of the island's most promising young surfers, ignored an official ban on swimming in the east coast area of Cap Homard and went surfing with friends.

He left a note for his mother saying "don't worry", but was dragged off his surfboard by a 2.5 metre (eight feet) .

He was the seventh person to be killed by a shark following a resurgence in attacks since 2011.

Once a mecca for the sport, Reunion has seen the number of licensed surfers fall from 1,600 to 400 since bodyboard champion Mathieu Schiller was killed in 2011, and the number of surf schools drop from 14 to one.

French Overseas Territories minister George Pau-Langevin is pictured on a boat on April 24, 2014 off les Roches Noires beach, on
French Overseas Territories minister George Pau-Langevin is pictured on a boat on April 24, 2014 off les Roches Noires beach, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, during a presentation of the water protection plan

Two hundred mourners went to the government office following Canestri's funeral last week and tipped red paint on the road to protest against the lack of official action.

Since 2013 when another leading local surfer Fabien Bujon had his hand and right foot torn off by a shark, the authorities have banned swimming and water sports outside of monitored areas.

Explore further: Fatal shark attacks rare in Australia despite deaths: experts

Related Stories

Anti-shark devices popular on Maui after attacks

January 24, 2014

A surge in shark attacks on Maui over the past year, including two fatal ones, hasn't stopped people from surfing and swimming in the warm ocean waters that surround the Hawaii island. But it has spurred sales of devices ...

Recommended for you

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

The friendly extortioner takes it all

February 15, 2019

Cooperating with other people makes many things easier. However, competition is also a characteristic aspect of our society. In their struggle for contracts and positions, people have to be more successful than their competitors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.