All texts in blue -Coming tomorrow- are hyperlinks, kindly click on it. What you will find here is a letter sent by a collective of shark victim’s mothers to Princess Charlene of Monaco, as a reply to her original publication, which can be accessed through this link: click here. Originally from South Africa, one could be tempted to say Princess Charlene of Monaco is showing quite some nerve, as her home country is culling (for prevention purposes) 500 to 2000 sharks yearly since the 50s, along with dolphins, turtles and whales as bycatch !!! The very efficient fishing prevention policy of South Africa (through the “Natal shark Board”) can hardly be ignored by Princess Charlene, an eminent swimmer herself, as shown in the documents at the end of this article, or here in this video (at the 13th minute mark). Furthermore, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is responsible for one of the most serious environmental damage in the Mediterranean Sea of the past 20 years, with the introduction of a “killer seaweed” (Caulerpa taxifolia) in this fragile ecosystem..
Translation of "Paris Match" Charlène talk above :
She was supposed to slip away at 4 pm, but lingers on with her friends and is already passionate about another cause: the shark crisis of Réunion Island. It didn’t escape to her that on the social networks, the surfer Kelly Slater called for a massive cull after the fatal attack of a young bodyboarder last week. "I'm sorry for this young surfer, but he should not have gone into these murky & dirty waters, particularly attractive to sharks, and in a place where it is forbidden to swim. We kill 1 million sharks a year, and they have killed 20 people in Reunion since 2011... Without these predators, the planet would not work as it should, and what Slater advocates endangers the ecosystem..."
Your Serene Highness Charlene of Monaco
We are writing to you as a group of parents having suffered the amputation of our children.
We recently read an article about you in a popular weekly magazine which appeared in March 2017.
Eight of our families were crushed (not counting the relatives of the injured people who may be suffering even more) by the time we read this paper there were nine families involved due to the last attack on Adrien on 29th April.
This morbid figure is by no means fixed which you will soon see if this subject continues to interest you even a little.
It is no longer a question of a crisis but of a real "shark scandal" in Reunion Island.
Such a sensitive issue must not be taken lightly and we ask you to better investigate the facts when you make declarations about such a tragedy, so as not to further injure the people affected by these dramatic events.
The dead, the survivors and the families are asking you this as your ignorance seems considerable.
Your fame and above all your rank should lead to a certain level of precision ,as when you speak to the press the impact is very powerful. Look for information from diverse sources as your words are heard and you are circulating totally false ideas which are very difficult to correct after the facts.
It was the end of May in the week of the world surf Championships in Biarritz where Jeremy Florès and Johanne Defay performed brilliantly, as leaders of the French team and originally from Reunion Island. They will also represent France in the next Olympic Games in 2020.
Our island was a great provider of hopefuls and we have lost a generation of surfers who had the opportunity to train all year with exceptional waves and ideal conditions.
A sportswoman such as yourself cannot decently put a fish before young, combative and ambitious humans whose only aim is to physically surpass themselves. We must add, that the people who were devoured were not only practitioners of this sport, which is inexpensive and non polluting and within the reach of island dwellers who like to enjoy, like you and your children, an environment which singularly evokes their mother's womb.
The mothers of these children who have disappeared feel like their stomachs have been ripped open.
That same sea which is so attractive, soothing and relaxing and sometimes used for therapeutic reasons and whose users would not be able to do without it as they are viscerally attached to it.
In the name of what do Gabriella and Jacques, your children who you describe as loving the aquatic environment, have a more legitimate right to enjoy the ocean surrounding them than the ultramarine dwellers ?
Does this mean that we are not equal in our choices of life and leisure activities?
Please note that since 2011 only one derisory shark is fished on average every nine days on our island for preventive reasons, compared to several thousand each day in France and several hundreds of thousands across the world.
The tiger and bullsharks implicated in the attacks are neither nasty or nice: they are voracious predators, real machines armed with incredible jaws and extremely powerful sensory capacities to detect their prey (our children in other words.) They have not been fished on the island for 18 years despite not being a protected species. They have multiplied out of control in the same way as a plant pest, to the point of becoming a real curse. Excess is always harmful and what we are seeking is the return to a healthy balance.
Today, all the island's beaches are out of bounds. There are fewer and fewer sea users and the number of attacks is continuing to rise despite this : we must ask ourselves the right questions!
On 25 May the lagoon was evacuated due to the presence of a young bull shark moving around in an area used by children. This was the only place still open to families....
Are you aware that in Reunion Island half of the inhabitants lives under the poverty line? They cannot afford to spend their holidays in luxury swimming pools or on Paradise beaches where serenity is the key word.
If we are speaking out it is because this situation is unique : these predators which are not threatened have proliferated to the point of taking over the small areas of beach which were reserved for leisure and tourism.
Allowing it to be written that there have been 20 deaths in Reunion island since 2011 is false, and proves that you do not know enough about this issue. Making a comparison with the millions of sharks killed every year in the world (not by the people of Reunion) is abject.
How can you become an accomplice to this vast hypocrisy, which has a tendency to group together the meagre preventive fishing of a few sharks on our coasts, and industrial shark fishing for commercial reasons on the rest of the planet? It is misinformation. We can and must protect animals without losing our humanity in the process.
We know that the principality has devoted itself to ocean protection. But each time you or your government raises the subject of Reunion Island it is tantamount to interference. Do we come to your homes and tell you how to keep your children safe? Do we use mainstream media to criticise your project to lay 5 hectares of concrete in the sea, which will have a detrimental effect on marine life, but did not provoke any emotional reaction from you?
For pity's sake get your facts right! Support us rather than destroying us yet again. We invite you to visit us on the beaches of Reunion Island and to see for yourself that they have become desolate cemeteries.
Please try to understand us !
That will not bring back our daughters and sons but it will avoid the double penalty.
A 15-year-old swimmer only half of whose body was found, a young man who disappeared without a trace, others who were attacked several times by sharks which ripped off arms and legs and attacked their bodies allowing them no way to escape despite their cries of distress, the proximity of their friends powerless to react, and their screams to their mothers which resound from rock to rock ,and all of this in the sea which is red with their blood. This is the spectacle!
The witnesses are traumatised forever and need psychological support. As for the families, they have to cope alone and are stigmatised to the point of being openly insulted.
Just one 3 meter shark would be capable of ripping up your two children and devouring them in one fell swoop. We are pleading with your maternal instinct. We are appalled at the huge gap between the aim of your charities and your lack of compassion for the massacre of young healthy, sporty girls and boys severely maimed or mortally injured.
Despite all of this we sincerely congratulate you on your actions in Burkina Faso and Madagascar. How can you support the teaching of swimming in these countries on the one hand, whilst supporting a position which is leading to its total outlawing in Reunion Island?
Maybe you will say to yourself : " Why are these people insisting on wanting to enjoy watersports in the ocean?" To which we answer: " Can we stop a musician playing music?"
It's called passion your royal highness. And this passion is practised according to the freedom of each individual
Freedom is written in our Constitution and the security of citizens is an absolute right. We will fight to the end for the return to an acceptable risk level so that this freedom remains possible.
In Reunion Island the principles of freedom and equality are being shaken by a ban on going into the ocean, confirmed by current regulation dating from 26 July 2013.
An island without the sea is an island without a soul and without a future.
We sincerely hope this letter will attract and retain your attention.
The Collective of the Families of the Shark Scandal :
Annick Aubert, mother of Eddy Aubert who died on 15 June 2011
Brigitte Schiller, mother of Mathieu Schiller who died on 19 September 2011
Sophie Rassiga, mother of Alexandre Rassiga who died on 23 July 2012
Marie Andriama, sister and witness to the death of Sarah Rophert on 15 July 2013
Sylvie Canestri, mother of Elio Canestri who died on 12 April 2015
Marie France Cadet, mother of Alexandre Naussac who died on 21 February 2017
Corinne Dubosc, mother of Adrien Dubosc who died on 29 April 2017
This excerpt from the book "Teeth of Death" preface recalls the genesis of the fishing preventive policy efficiently conducted for 60 years in South Africa. Who can believe that Charlène de Monaco does not know what is happening in her own country ?
The Natal Shark Board, at the forefront of shark attacks protection in the world, still kills sharks by the truck load in 2017, dissecting hundreds of specimens in public every year.
This graph shows the number of catches from the 50s to 2008. The record was reached in 1984 with about 2300 sharks killed!!!
It gives an average of 441 sharks killed yearly in South Africa, but where is Charlene & her public outcry??? She was probably too busy doing some laps in a swimming pool in a Monaco’s palace…
Whales, dolphins and turtles, innocent bycatch killed yearly in South Africa, in Charlene's complete indifference
When one is actually responsible for a major environmental damage, it’s smart to try and deflect public’s opinion toward others ‘issues, even smaller ones… People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones