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“Better to be a sheep in France than a human being on Reunion Island”

Monday July 21, 2022, Emmanuel Macron received for an hour the breeders confronted with the wolf. The president announced a whole series of measures to them, with the creation of a second brigade for taking samples as well as an approach at European level to downgrade this species from those which are protected.

The last time a member of the government put the shark risk on Reunion Island on the menu of his visit was in September 2017: Annick Girardin was then overseas minister. That year, the two fatal attacks were surely there for something. Two other deadly attacks in 2019 did not arouse any emotion or reaction from the Macron government. This problem will then never again be the subject of an official sequence during the countless ministerial visits to the island.

Only three improvised answers following a question from a local journalist during a visit have since been obtained:

– the first, in 2018, from the Minister of Overseas Sébastien Lecornu. He then referred us to a “modern approach to biodiversity”, namely a forced cohabitation with man-eating predators, decided from Paris by enarques subject to environmentalism,

– the other, in 2019, from the president himself who assured us of his desire to return the sea to the people of Reunion by 2022,

– finally a last one in 2022 still from Sébastien Lecornu who tries to justify the government’s inaction because of the Covid (!)

This promise from Emmanuel Macron remains awaited even without great hope, because the shark crisis will remain intact as long as the “provisional” banning order lasts, already renewed 11 times successively since July 26, 2013, an order which concerns the entire coastline of our island (outside the lagoon and derisory/ephemeral landscaped/protected spaces).

The Macron government has just been content since 2017 to stay the course of a preventive policy based on fishing launched in 2014. Here again, the president has not honored his 2017 commitments where he himself denounced the incompatibility of a Marine Reserve in the heart of a seaside area. A unique situation in the world, and which has still not been the subject of the slightest modification despite our incessant requests.

And this is still the whole point today: organizations defending man-eating sharks relentlessly attack every fishing decision in the Marine Reserve. Yet crucial decisions when you know that this protected area encompasses almost all the beaches on our coast. It is also because of these rules, unchanged since the creation of the Marine Reserve in 2007, ignoring the presence of predators, that the State itself has been dismissed in court for a large part of these security measures by the Peach. Until recently in March 2022, the decree authorizing fishing after observation in the marine reserve launched by the State was deemed illegal by the administrative court.

Since 2011, there have been countless proceedings and trials of the shark god’s madmen in Reunion. And in the face of local resistance, they work in parallel nationally and internationally to achieve their dark designs. However, it is not for lack of having shown its credentials from an environmental point of view, between the invention in 2014 of the smart drum line (real-time capture alert allowing harmless species to be released alive), the total protection of 5 species of reef sharks since 2015 (in “compensation” for the fishing of bulldog tigers), or the innumerable other constraints imposed (type of bait, times, location, controls, etc.).

Whatever the efforts and the result, namely no more attacks since May 2019, nothing is enough to satisfy the extremists of nature thirsty for human sacrifices, and more than ever this preventive policy is on the hot seat, with new trials in progress. Classes. With the support of biologists, all involved in the creation of reserves and the protection of sharks, they succeeded in publishing in March 2022 a worrying text at the level of the IUCN (powerful international body which decides on the protection of species) which speaks out against preventive fishing. It is absolutely certain that despite the reality of the tiger and bulldog species in no way threatened, because prolific and extremely widespread, they should sooner or later come to an end through lobbying in the corridors of ministries and international bodies.

On the other hand, the great contempt we are the object of is also illustrated on the political scene with a staggering response from the Minister of the Sea on May 3, 2022. To the written question of a member concerned about the fate of sharks, he says “In Reunion, the recurrent attacks of sharks on humans have led the local authorities to issue, as a catharsis, decrees authorizing the destruction of sharks”.

The answer to the 11 dead, 5 seriously mutilated, a destroyed economy, 10 years of bathing ban would just be a “cathartic” fishing, just to appease the anger and the pain in particular of the families???

While on the other side the Prefecture of Reunion Island, responding to yet another attack by extremists from the ocean, indicates in a press release on July 20, 2022 that this same preventive fishing has led to dividing by 5 the attendance of our shores by dangerous sharks, and “that to date there is no operational solution making it possible to free ourselves from fishing”, the effectiveness of which is bearing obvious fruit after three years without attack and a balance sheet of 633 large bulldog and tiger sharks collected since 2014.

On the contrary, it would have been good for politicians and the judiciary to question the share of responsibility of all those who have opposed preventive fishing since 2011, the only effective method of risk reduction used successfully in the world on beaches protected for 80 years in Australia and 50 years in South Africa.

Thus, on the one hand we have a President of the Republic at the bedside of the shepherds while it is the sheep that are being eaten. On the other, committed families and actors who have not even been received, whereas it is men, women and children who have been devoured.

On the one hand, the President of the Republic announces measures and his commitment to change the rules of European protection… On the other, he persists in leaving us in the lurch, without changing the rules of the National Marine Reserve, which are still incompatible. today with the preservation of human lives. We are not asking for additional means or money, but just the addition of a common sense article to the initial decree of the marine reserve: “in the absence of sufficient means it is possible to derogate from the protection rule species to protect human lives”. This simple point would be enough to put an end to this “squabble”, and definitively appease our island, plagued by enough difficulties to remain in such a situation indefinitely.

In the meantime, the observation is bitter and the message of the President of the Republic could not be clearer: better to be a sheep in France than a human being on Reunion Island!

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