So close to Reunion Island, yet Mauritius is so far from the shark crisis. Officially, no shark attack has been recorded by the Mauritian authorities. Mauritius owes its salvation to its coral reef which surrounds all the wonderful white sandy beaches of the country. But that does not mean that the risk is set aside at 100%.
Mauritius is a rather unique island with lagoons protected by the reefs, which prevent sharks from having access to the beaches. Sharks are not a problem for the island.
At the end of 2011, the west coast of Mauritius faced three shark alerts. The Mauritian coast guard, faced with the threat of a shark attack, have evacuated the frequented Albion beach. At the same time, the shark crisis was beginning to settle in Reunion Island as it hardly recovered from that of chikungunya.
Since then, the French department has recorded no fewer than seven deadly shark attacks. But in Mauritius, not a shadow of a drop of blood. Fortunately, Mauritius has a lagoon that protects swimmers. A shark attack has never happened on the island.
However there are sharks! On the stalls of the fish market of Grand Bay. “We sometimes sell hammerhead shark, tiger shark, bulldog shark and other small sharks caught in fishermen nets. They are caught in the deep see and never inside the lagoon”, says a fishmonger.
However, the ban on shark fish in La Réunion surprises the fishmonger. “You do not eat shark in Reunion Island, we make soup with fins, and when there are sharks, customers buy them to deliver them to the Chinese restaurants in Grand Baie and Port Louis”.
Shark attack becomes an urban legend
Offshore in the deep sea, behind the barrier reef, sharks are often caught by boaters. There are sharks everywhere, not in the lagoon, of course, but outside. Fishermen often encounter them and when caught inside nets, are often released. They say, they’re used to it and not afraid of this animal.
There are some stories out there about shark attacks but a mortal shark, let alone wounding, attack in Mauritius can never really be confirmed. But if ever this should happen, the Mauritian Tourist Board might try not to repeat the same mistakes as La Réunion.