Is there a solution for the shark attack drama in Reunion Island?

June 27, 2016 | Environment
Sharks: the number of attacks on people is increasing in Reunion Island | Photo: Shutterstock

Sharks have always been a problem in Reunion Island. The French Territory located in the Indian Ocean is a shark-infested zone, but the predators' attacks have dramatically increased since 2011.

Reunion has world-class surf spots and breathtaking beaches. Its volcanic DNA means the island features the perfect underwater lava rock bottoms that are ideal for creating endless wave rides.

Until 2011, Reunion Island has been considered a surfer's paradise. But the frequency of shark attacks is on the rise, and local citizens are literally losing everything - their relatives, their surfing waves, and the tourists.

"Surrounded: Island of the Sharks" is a documentary that aims to understand the impact of sharks on the tiny island off the coast of Madagascar.

Reunion Island home to 13 percent of the world's fatal shark attacks. Between 2011 and June 2016, 18 people have been attacked. Seven have been killed. All on the western coastline. But, what can be done to protect human lives and still let sharks occupy on their own natural habitat?

"People should know that, today, there is no miracle solution. Communities have been torn apart. We realized that things were getting rather violent," explains Nicolas Le Bianic, chief of shark prevention in the local government.

The bull shark is the most dangerous species in Reunion Island, but tiger sharks are also frequent swimmers and attacker here, too. The documentary "Surrounded: Island of the Sharks" invites us to dive into the silent drama that currently divides the population.

Discover the most shark-infested waters in the world. Learn what can you do to survive a shark attack.