The beaches near Nouméa are enchanting.
How not to fall in love with the Baie des Citrons or the tranquil Vata Cove?
But since the end of January, three attacks have been recorded in New Caledonia.
An Australian tourist who was swimming 150 meters from the shore, near a pontoon, at the beach of the Royal Castle, even lost his life on February 19.
Before psychosis sets in on all the beaches in the world, it is important to remember that few fatal accidents of this type occur each year in the world: only 9 in 2022. Know that every year, in France, bees, hornets and wasps are responsible for the death of around twenty people.
However, these Hymenoptera do not trigger the same panic as sharks.
Read alsoFrançois Sarano: “I have never been afraid when swimming with sharks”
Which sharks are involved?
In New Caledonia or on the island of Reunion, two species of sharks are incriminated in the attacks: bulldog shark (
) and tiger shark (
Opportunistic sharks with powerful jaws that unfortunately sever the femoral artery of swimmers/surfers, causing rapid exsanguination.
Contrary to the images of sensational films, sharks do not devour humans.
They crunch, test, understand that it is not a usual prey and leave.
But when the femoral is severed, it is already too late… Sharks never attack human beings by chance because humans are not part of their diet.
There are always explanatory factors for these predation bites.
Anticipating these factors reduces the risks.
In areas with predators, we avoid…
It is necessary to inquire with the population and the local authorities.
If it is advisable not to swim in an area, there is no need to play reckless.
If signs are posted advising against or prohibiting swimming, surfing, windsurfing or any other water activity, there is a good reason they are there.
Avoid defying prohibitions.
Torrential rains, troubled waters
In New Caledonia, the January 29 attack came after heavy rains.
It is far from being a coincidence.
The rains drain various potentially odorous wastes into the sea, which can attract sharks.
Swimming is therefore strongly discouraged after this period.
Bulldog sharks also called Zambezi sharks like murky waters, swim in fresh water and swim up rivers.
Bathing in some African rivers or Australian rivers is not necessarily a good idea.
Inquiring directly on site is important.
In English, the bulldog shark is called bull shark.
Not to be translated word for word by bull shark (
) which is the placid sand tiger shark.
Never swim on coasts where you know that there are
organic discharges at sea
: fishing areas, fish scaling, restaurant discharges, remains of customary festivals.
It would really tempt the devil.
In New Caledonia, sharks gather near the coast during the calving periods.
For what ?
Simply because in shallow areas, hatchlings are safe from predators.
January, February and March
are birth periods.
It is therefore necessary to be particularly wary and not to stray too far from the edge, nor to leave the supervised zones.
If you are a fan of spearfishing, never keep
a fish on you
Take the example of the Polynesians who drag a tank to the surface and immediately deposit each fish caught there.
In kelp forests (South Africa, South Australia, Baja California), stay in a meter or two of water, never straying far from the edge rocks.
Avoid swimming with seals and sea lions at depth
These charming and playful animals are also the favorite prey of great white sharks (
Also avoid areas where there are many jumps from boats or pontoons, anything that “splash”.
Sharks are curious and come to see what causes the commotion.
Scuba divers are rarely bothered by sharks.
As they are face-to-face with the sharks, they are not in a vulnerable situation with their legs on the surface like swimmers or surfers waiting for a wave.