Following another deadly shark attack off the coast of Reunion Island last week, France’s Jeremy Flores has publicly urged local authorities to take further precautionary measures.
22 year-old local surfer Alexandre Rassica was surfing the left off the beach of Trois-Bassins on the west side of the island when he had his right leg bitten off. Despite being rescued to shore by three friends, Rassica sadly wasn’t able to recover from the injury and later died from cardiac arrest.
While shark attacks were not previously unheard of in Reunion, the recent spate of attacks (six in 18 months) is in fact thought to be “man-made” following the controversial introduction of a nearby marine reserve and aqua farm (3 or 4 kms from the site of the attacks). Due to a new abundance of food, visiting migratory shark species such as the bulldog are thought to have permanently “settled” in the area in large numbers.
Following two fatal attacks last year (in June and September), authorities agreed to put in place monitoring of the island’s beaches to reassure beach-goers (tourism remains one of the island’s main sources of revenue). However, with this 3rd fatal attack Reunion’s prefect Michel Lalande will no doubt come under increasing pressure to reduce the size of the marine reserve and relocate the aqua farm elsewhere as the surfing community has long demanded.
As a French overseas territory, Reunion Island has long stood as a true hotbed of talent in the surf world. Aside from Jeremy Flores, who spent much of his childhood there, French pro surfers Romain Cloitre, Hugo Savalli, Adrien Toyon, Damien Chaudoy also all hail from the popular Indian Ocean surf destination.
For Jeremy’s original, full-length blog post on the subject, visit www.jeremy-flores.com.