Reunion Island, better known for its shark infestation than its world-class waves at this point, racked up its 20th attack since 2011 earlier this week. Jeremy Flores took to Instagram to pay tribute to the latest victim, 26-year-old Alexandre Naussance. The comments poured in immediately, and it wasn’t long before Kelly Slater weighed in on the ongoing problem:
"Honestly, I won't be popular for saying this but there needs to be a serious cull on Reunion and it should happen everyday. There is a clear imbalance happening in the ocean there. If the whole world had these rates of attack nobody would use the ocean and literally millions of people would be dying like this. The French govt needs to figure this out asap. 20 attacks since 2011!?"
The comments comes days after Slater released his latest campaign, “It’s Not OK” with Outerknown, calling for a shift in human awareness over our pollution’s effect on the ocean. While the shark issue pertains around Reunion Island, the issue puts many surfers in an interesting position: To cull or not to cull? And, where does this all fall in line with the conservation of our oceans?
In an interview with Stab about the controversial topic, Slater states "Ballina seems to be seasonal and migratory sharks, but I don't know that for sure. Reunion has had a far greater number of attacks and a higher percentage of deaths. And it seems to have been something specifically created by human interference from what Jeremy has told me. There is some unnatural order occurring there that doesn't happen nearby in Mauritius or Rodriguez Island. Slater continued, “I surely don't want to be a scientific authority in any way in this debate. It's just one man's opinion."