Noumea beaches closed due to shark attacks

Beachgoers in New Caledonia have protested against the closure of Noumea’s swimming beaches until the end of the year.

The mayor took the decision ten days ago because of a spate of shark attacks, including the fatal mauling of a swimmer.

About 100 people formed a chain along a beach, denouncing the ban as discriminatory.

They have taken issue with exemptions being granted to kitesurfers and windsurfers, who are allowed into the water at their own risk.

The closure has also hit hotels relying on tourists arriving for beach holidays.

By the end of the year, the authorities plan to set up protective barriers to create safe swimming areas.

In the month before the closure, 40 sharks were culled near the Noumea beaches. Since the attack of a young boy in 2019, the Noumea council removed tiger sharks and bull sharks from its protected species list as part of a wide-ranging scheme to reduce shark attacks.