Reunion Island Suffers Yet Another Shark Attack, 17th In Four Years

Reunion Island, considered to have one of the deadliest coastlines in the world, has reported yet another shark attack, the 17th to occur on the tiny Indian Ocean island in just the last four years.

The attack took place yesterday (June 1) near Le Port, at a noted surf spot called la Follette, according to Grind TV. Surfer Eddy Chaussalet, 47, was in the water just off the beach when he was attacked by a shark, which seriously injured his forearm. A regular presence at la Follette, Chaussalet luckily will not lose his arm because of the attack, after the limb was analyzed by France’s rescue department, Service Départemental d’Incendie et de Secours (SDIS). (Reunion is a French island.) It is currently unclear what species of shark was responsible.

Chaussalet’s attack is just the latest in a string of incidents that have brought notoriety to Reunion island, which depends on tourism to survive. A picturesque island, Reunion has experienced a staggering 17 shark attacks in the last four years, seven of which have proven fatal. Earlier this year, 13-year-old Elio Canestri was attacked and killed by a bull shark while surfing off the coast of Reunion. An up-and-coming surfer, his death came just a few weeks after a 22-year-old woman was killed by a shark while swimming near the island, as the Daily Telegraph reports.

The attacks have taken their toll on Reunion, as many surfers have fled the island, or have simply stopped going into the water. Before the sharks began attacking in earnest in 2011, 1,600 licensed surfers plied the waves off Reunion. Now, that number has fallen to just 400, forcing the closure of some 13 surf schools on the island.

Earlier this year, officials on Reunion suggested a number of shark deterrent strategies, which they hoped to test with the cooperation of local surfers. These included nets, electrical barriers, spotters located on shore, and armed patrol units. As the Inquisitr previously reported, baited drumlines, which have been used in Australia amid great controversy, were also suggested as a way to mitigate the shark threat.

Though officials have previously expressed their hope that 2015 would be a year of transition, during which the island would emerge from the cloud of fear that surrounds it, the latest shark attack has been one more blow to the surf culture of Reunion.

[Photo by Ian Waldie / Getty Images]