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New Caledonia launches shark culling campaign


Concerned by two attacks in less than a month, the town hall of Nouméa has taken measures to fight against the attacks of sharks on swimmers.

Two attacks in less than a month, a hundred meters from the same beach in Noumea.

This worrying assessment so early in the year 2023 prompted the town hall of the capital of New Caledonia to launch a campaign to kill sharks.

In broad daylight, when many bathers were on the beach, a 59-year-old Australian tourist was fatally attacked by a dogfish.

The victim was swimming 150 meters from the beach of Château-Royal - one of the busiest in Nouméa - when the animal bit him several times.

Injured in the leg and arms, the swimmer succumbed to his injuries a few minutes later.

Château-Royal beach is one of the busiest in Nouméa, New Caledonia.


Three weeks earlier, a swimmer had been seriously injured in the hands, thigh and back by a bull shark.

The 49-year-old woman was about a hundred meters from the edge of this same Château-Royal beach.

The shark was filmed by several witnesses from the pontoon which crosses the swimming area.

These attacks have largely shocked the inhabitants of Nouméa.

Concerned, the town hall of the city ordered the closure of the vast majority of the beaches of the town on several occasions.

Swimming and water activities have also been banned.

Secondly, a campaign to cull bulldog and tiger sharks, suspected of being the perpetrators, was launched.

“No other solution”

The Renaissance mayor of Nouméa, Sonia Lagarde, believes that

“there is no other solution.

No specialist is able to tell us why today there is this aggressiveness among sharks,

reports France Info.

I think there is an overpopulation and I sincerely believe that a certain number of them must be eliminated


“Right now I have reports of sharks coming in every day.

I have no choice

,” complained the mayor to Le



Read alsoAre sharks approaching the coast?

The municipality intends to install anti-shark nets on two portions of the beach.

A solution which “

has already proven itself in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Reunion

”, indicates to France Info François Taglioni, professor in geography of health and health and animal risk.

This researcher from the University of Reunion has analyzed in detail the shark attacks that have occurred in New Caledonia for forty years.

The publication of his study is expected in 2023.

However, the researcher “

does not think the net is the solution


On the one hand because it “

is very expensive in terms of investment and maintenance


But also because it is "

impossible to monitor an area where bathers go so far


Increase in the number of attacks

Since the announcement of the launch of these culling campaigns, 18 animals have been caught, one of which contained human remains.

This measure, which affects marine fauna, is denounced by environmental protection associations.

For example, the French committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially took a stand in 2022 against this measure.

However, the choice to slaughter sharks has become a habitual reflex in New Caledonia.

The reason ?

The increase in the number of attacks.

Through his analyses, François Taglioni was able to determine that since 2007, "

the bays of Noumea have become places at risk


Fans of "

board sports, such as surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding " are mainly targeted by "

it's new

" sharks


Prior to 2007, attacks were almost exclusively directed at “

spearfishers or swimmers


“No solution seems suitable”

A finding also observed by Claude Maillaud, doctor and co-author of a study of 67 attacks between 1958 and 2020.

"Until the end of the 20th century, the victims of attacks in Caledonia were overwhelmingly underwater hunters

" , he explains to



From the 2000s, we saw an increase in the number of attacks on swimmers and water sports practitioners.

“According to the expert, “

what is currently happening calls out, we are experiencing a turning point


Read alsoBiodiversity: brake on shark trade

The increase in the number of shark attacks is also reflected in the numbers.

From 2016 there is a peak with six attacks, followed by five in 2020 and six again in 2021. And unfortunately 2023 starts very badly with two new interactions.

“Before the 2010s, “

there were one to two attacks per year

,” recalled François Taglioni.

But what is the solution?

There are some, but none seems suitable to date for New Caledonia and will not solve the problem,

deplores the researcher.

It's probably hard to hear, and sometimes to accept, but going into the sea means taking a risk that must absolutely be limited.


Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-12

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