9 May, 2013 9 May, 2013

Honeymooner Killed By Shark In Reunion

The popular beach of Brisants de Saint-Gilles on Reunion Island.

The popular beach of Brisants de Saint-Gilles on Reunion Island.

What was supposed to be a romantic getaway for a newlywed French couple ended in tragedy on Wednesday. The honeymooning pair were enjoying a day at the popular Brisants de Saint-Gilles on Reunion Island when the 36 year-old husband was attacked and killed by a shark while surfing, his distraught wife watching on from the beach.

It’s the third fatal attack the Indian Ocean island has registered in the past two years, and the tenth since 1972. There’s also been a number of non-fatal attacks in increasing frequencies, which suggest that shark attacks are on the rise in Reunion.

Last year over 300 locals picketed outside the mayors office, causing Mayor Thierry Robert to initially OK an order to cull sharks in the area, before pressure from France quickly made him retract the order.

About 300 people (mostly surfers) gathered in front of the Prefecture building in Saint-Denis in July 2012 to call for the culling of sharks off Reunion island.

There are ongoing studies, as well as Reunion’s own version of our effective and long-running Shark Spotters program in place, but these have done little to calm the locals who have grown angry at the situation and have critisized the local government for not doing enough to protect swimmers and surfers.

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