Reunion Island: Deputy Mayor Robert withdraws Shark Cull Order

Helmut Nickel, Shark Year Magazine,
01. August 2012

Here is a short update on our previous article Shark hunt authorised by Mayor of Saint-Leu.

The order by deputy mayor Thierry Robert , authorizing the killing of bull sharks in the coastal waters of Saint-Leu (up to 300 metres from shore), has led to a lot of confusion in Reunion Island.

The legitimacy of this ‘bull shark cull’ was questioned.

Some sources are even reporting that the Prefect (on behalf of the state) immediately responded by sending police-officers to the fishing ports of the commune of Saint-Leu. They told local fishermen not to follow their mayor’s order. Most fishermen were not even aware of this development. Others said that they are not willing to take the risk and efforts for the „cheap price“ of 2,- Euros per kg,

Yesterday afternoon, deputy mayor T. Robert had a meeting with Victorin Lurel ( the Minister of Overseas France ).

Shortly afterwards, the minister told the media that Mr. Robert has withdrawn his order.
Victorin Lurel said: “Even if one could understand the motivations, we could not approve it because it was patently unlawful…”.

Thierry Robert has confirmed his withdrawal of the decree.
But the following announcement shows that the controversy on this issue is far from being over:

The questionable (unlawful) shark-hunt-order should be replaced by a prefectural by-law next week.

It is said that this new by-law will allow fishermen to catch sharks within 95 % of the Marine Reserve.

“The fishing technique will be defined by professional fishermen because they know how to proceed to take sharks”, explained Mr. Robert. But spearfishermen ( previously considered in Mayor Robert’s order) will be excluded from the hunt. And it seems that bull sharks and tiger sharks will be the targeted species.

Shark Year Magazine will keep you informed when more reliable details surface.

Below is a youtube-video of a second protest-rally (July 29th) by surfers and fishermen, including an interview with the deputy mayor of Saint-Leu. A few days earlier, demonstrators already gathered at Reunion’s Prefecture in Saint-Denis (see here).

Sources: clicanoo, linfo, zinfos974.


  1. Angel

    If it is unlawful to fish in a marine protected area, change the law to by pass it.
    That is what they are doing.
    Amarine protected area, means it is protected from fishing and in most cases from all the activities in the sea. And please see where it leads to for French. Change the status of marine protected area. You can catch sharks in a marine protected area. Sharks are not a part of marine system, ocean system, eco system. They do not need to protect them. What is next ? Scorpionfish, angelfish, stonefish, jellyfish, fire coral, sea urchins ? Please change the status of them as well. They may harm humans too.
    You should call this marine protected area something else .
    What about “Governers Play Ground” The new definition of protection. Trust him, he will protect you. The real question is who is protect us from him ?

  2. nicholas acierno

    The hunting of any type of wildlife inside a protected marine conserve is unlawful. Instead, efforts and funds should be directed towards educating the public about these animals so that the public will have the knowledge to stay safe while enjoying the beach. When we swim we are entering the shark’s world. They live there we do not.

  3. great white

    Leave the sharks be. Don’t swim in the ocean. If someone enters your home with the intention of robbing he can be shot dead. Sharks are merely doing what nature intends.

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