In the South Sea archipelago of New Caledonia, the judiciary has banned a much-criticized program for the targeted slaughter of sharks. Last week, a court in the capital Nouméa suspended the controversial campaign, New Zealand news site Stuff reported, citing judicial authorities.

There was a lack of “precise scientific studies on both the size of the tiger and bull shark populations and the environmental impact of their removal,” the ruling said.

After several shark attacks and the death of an Australian tourist from a tiger shark attack in February, the authorities in the French overseas territory launched a so-called “shark culling” campaign, in which, according to animal rights activists, dozens of predatory fish have already been killed by government authorities.

Protection for swimmers and surfers

The mayor of Nouméa had allocated the equivalent of 650,000 euros for this. She emphasized that there is an “overpopulation problem” and that a certain number of animals must be killed by December 2023. Beaches were closed and shark nets were to be installed in front of the popular bathing bay of Anse Vata to protect swimmers and surfers.

Animal rights activists called for an end to the campaign and went to court – with success. Stuff quoted the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as saying such killings were likely to cause a range of ecological problems while giving the public a false sense of security.

New Caledonia is located about 2,400 kilometers north of New Zealand in the South Pacific. According to Tourism New Caledonia, there have been at least 67 shark attacks around the archipelago between 1958 and 2020. 13 of them were fatal. The attacks have increased in recent years.