Shark Danger in Noumea. Who is to blame?
Nouméa offers amazing views with small islands all around the multiple city beaches. Up on the Ouen Toro Park we can see a 360° perspective. On one side, the Anse Vata Bay and its beach promenade, the little islands surrounding the coast and 2 of the 4 star hotels in the city; Le Méridien Noumea Resort & Spa and Château Royal Beach Resort & Spa. On the other side, the Sainte-Marie Bay and its big island and another bunch of different islands a few miles away from the coast. Despite the apparent beauty and calm, a very real and present danger lives in the harbors and beaches of the city, the Bull Shark and many other species of sharks.
Do not put your feet in the water...
Shark infested waters is the first thing we think of when one goes to Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia. As a result, the island is far from being the dreamed clear blue waters often seen in postcards from the South Pacific beaches.
There has always been shark attacks in New Caledonia but, since 2011, there has been an increase of aggressiveness and more fatal attacks. The three most feared squales are the Bull Shark, the Tiger Shark and the Great White Shark.
One of the most populated beaches in Nouméa is the one at Anse Vata Bay. If you are tired of being at the beach, you can take a taxi boat and go have luch at the little island in front of the beach; Îlot Canard.
But beware, despite the innofensive appearance of the turquoise blue waters, shark fins show up often at just some meters from the shore. Beaches are more often evacuated from December to May, the hottest season in the island. In 2016, half of the deadly shark attacks worldwide happened in New Caledonia.
No bread, please
In the Nouville Harbor of Nouméa, it is now strictly forbidden to clean the catched fish and throw the entrails from the boat to the water.
The danger is so, that once fish blood is spilled in the water, at least 20 Bull Sharks show up in less than 10 minutes. The government pins the blame on the population for feeding sharks on harbors, beaches, motus (little islands) etc. But since thousands of years fish has been cleaned on beaches after the day catching and shark attacks have not been as numerous as nowadays, isn’t it?
Consequently, therefore a few questions that come to one’s mind:
– Does the government really know the reason of the increased aggressive behavior of sharks?
– Or does it deliberately blame the population to remain exempt of responsibility?
In other words, the government aims to reassuring the population by putting the fault on them and giving them the cause-effect control ( stop throwing bread to fish and there will be no more shark attacks).
Does it really resolve the core of the problem? No, it doesn’t.