Réunion to kill sharks ‘for research’

The French Indian Ocean island of Réunion is launching a 'scientific' cull of bull and tiger sharks after a spate of fatal attacks in recent weeks.

Authorities on the island announced the shark cull on Tuesday, along with a plan to make several surf spots on its beaches safer.

Starting this week, about 20 bull and tiger sharks will be captured by a professional fisherman for the purposes of scientific research, island authorities said. The decision reflects local concern following two fatal shark attacks this year, the most recent of which took place last week. Another surfer nearly lost a hand and a foot in an attack on Sunday. 

The mayor of Réunion's St Leu municipality, Thierry Robert, last week controversially offered to pay local fishermen to hunt and kill sharks in the island's waters. He later withdrew the offer under pressure from Victorin Lurel, the minister for the overseas territories, who said that such a cull would breach French conservation laws.

Xavier Brunetière, secretary general of the island prefecture, was quick to underline that the new cull was for research purposes.

“The operation isn’t aiming to control the population of sharks because it would be impossible to say when safety could be assured,” he said in a press conference yesterday.

“We’re capturing the sharks to see if they have toxins dangerous to humans in their blood.”

A young man was attacked and killed by a shark yesterday, the second fatal attack this year.

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France confirms wing part is from flight MH370

French prosecutors confirmed on Thursday that a piece of debris found on the Indian island of Réunion was from the Malaysian airlines flight MH370.

France confirms wing part is from flight MH370
A policeman and a gendarme stand next to the piece of debris on Réunion island. Photo: AFP
French prosecutors confirmed that the wing part was from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, a month after tests on the flaperon began.
“It is possible today to say with certainty that the flaperon discovered on Reunion island on July 29 came from flight MH370,” Paris prosecutors said in a statement, confirming claims made by Malaysia's prime minister early last month.
In the statement on Thursday, prosecutors said investigators discovered three numbers on the wing part, and later concluded that one of the figures corresponded to the serial number of an MH370 flaperon.
French authorities had initially been more cautious about confirming that the piece was from the missing aircraft, only stating at the time that there was a “very high probability” it came from the plane.

(The wreckage on the island of Réunion. Photo: BFM TV/screengrab) 

The find raised hopes of finally solving the mystery of what happened to the plane, prompting investigators to search a maritime surface of 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 square miles) and scour the island's eastern coastline.

But the searches did “not led to the identification of anything that could have a link with a plane,” the French state's representative on the island, Dominique Sorain, said last month after calling off the search. 

(A closer look at the “flaperon” on a Boeing 777. Photo: WikiCommons)
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