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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Sun, 30 April 2017

The death toll from sharks in Reunion is mounting. Two months after his best friend died, trained shark spotter Adrien Dubosc, 28, passed away after bleeding to death on the beach yesterday.


REUNION SHARK: The incident took place just south of St Leu. Photo Google Earth

Dubosc, who was bodyboarding with friends just south of St Leu at La Pointe au Sel les Bas when the shark bit his upper leg and groin, is the ninth person killed by shark off Reunion in the last six years. Twelve have been injured.

He was carried onto the beach after the incident, but bled to death within 30 minutes despite attempts to save him, authorities said. His friend Alexandre Naussac, 26, died after the shark bit through his femoral artery.

The French prefecture on Reunion has been accused of dithering in their plans to curb attacks from aggressive bull sharks, but they claim to have tackled the issue with nets, patrols and by killing about 100 sharks a year.fb-adrien dubosc

SHARK SPOTTER: Dubosc was a trained shark spotter with the local outfit. Photo FB

Reunion has elicited the consultation of shark scientists, and the South African Sharkspotters programme has been helpful in provided data and information that enabled Reunion to establish the Shark Watch Patrol, of which Dubosc was part.

The mounting death toll has caused anger and frustration on the island. After Naussac died, Kelly Slater even came out in support of his friend, angry Reunion surfer Jeremy Flores, who had accused the French government of incompetent handling of the shark issue.

Slater, who was working on his new sustainable ocean and surf lifestyle brand Outerknown, came out to even suggest a "serious cull on Réunion and it should happen every day”.adrien-surfing

BARRELLED: Dubosc was a well-known charger along the coast of Reunion. Photo Facebook

“There is a clear imbalance happening in the ocean there. If the whole world had these rates of attack nobody would use the ocean and millions of people would be dying like this. The French government needs to figure this out ASAP,” Slater said on Instagram.

The comments caused a predictable uproar, and after intervention by Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, Slater retracted his remarks, admitting they were made in emotional response to anguish suffered by Flores and the surfers of Reunion.

We are all angry, and we're gonna have to fight

According to some reports, hunting sharks on Reunion for food is banned because their flesh is contaminated with a toxin dangerous to humans. The policy had allowed bull sharks to thrive, according to locals on the island.

A total of 21 incidents on an island with a population of 845,000 in the last six years, since 2011, makes Reunion the most likeliest place to encounter a shark.

Surfing is banned except at two beaches that use shark exclusion barriers, but people can't resist the epic surf. This also heightens the risk. The fewer people in the water, the more at risk surfers are.

A Facebook post by Océan Prévention Réunion (OPR), an advocacy group to promote strategy to resolve the shark crisis, posted on Facebook today: "We are all angry, and we're gonna have to fight if we do not want to see all our kids go one after the other, if we do not want to see our island into chaos!"

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