11 October 18
In 2011, in response to the French-governed Reunion Island’s elevating ‘shark crisis’, renowned local water sports figure Jean Francois Nativel, founded the first Reunion’s shark attack prevention society (Océan Prevention Réunion). The Society advocates the development of measures that will support people who use the ocean for recreation and employment.
Jean has now written a book Requins à La Réunion: une tragédie moderne (Sharks attacks, a modern tragedy, Reunion Island’s story) and is visiting Australia to speak about the issues raised.
He will give a presentation at the Lennox Head Community Centre on Saturday October 20 to discuss the book and the Reunion experience.
Over the past few years, the tropical island paradise of Reunion has been divided as a result of its experience with shark attacks. At the crux of the issue: shark conservation, versus humans’ rights to enter the ocean.
In Reunion, between memorials for lives lost, there have been heated protests and emotions are running high on both sides.
One of Jean’s biggest concerns is the intervention of the government in this issue. In parts of the Island there are now bans on people entering the ocean and arrests have been made of ocean users. Reports suggest that one shark attack victim was threatened with legal action from a restaurateur reliant on tourism for a loss of income and ruining patronage, after an attack occurred nearby the ‘once popular’ eatery.
But Jean is very much on the side of human rights and the freedom to choose in this argument.
- AUTHOR: VIC LETO
- SOURCE: THE LENNOX WAVE