A spatial and environmental analysis of shark attacks on Reunion Island (1980–2017)

Abstract : This paper analyses data related to the 57 shark attacks that were recorded on Reunion from 1980 to 2017, against the backdrop of an Indian Ocean island that is particularly vulnerable to shark attacks. To address this issue of vulnerability, the discussion focuses on the respective weight of environmental, contextual and individual variables. The most pertinent parameters to explain the occurrence of attacks on Reunion are as follows: time of day, month and turbidity. Two specific features of Reunion Island can be added to those: first, the high mortality rate of the attacks (46% vs a world average of 11%), and secondly, the average increase in the number of attacks between 2011 and 2017, despite the average drop in the number of ocean users. To understand and explain this rise, three variables are identified: water turbidity, swell height and victim activity. In addition, the multiple correspondence analysis, despite the limited number of attacks, provides correlations between some variables: on the one hand, attack outcome, turbidity, swell height, and, as regards attacks before or after 2011, board sports and swell height.
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François Taglioni, Sebastien Guiltat, Magali Teurlai, Mathieu Delsaut, Denis Payet. A spatial and environmental analysis of shark attacks on Reunion Island (1980–2017). Marine Policy, Elsevier, 2019, 101, pp.51-62. ⟨10.1016/j.marpol.2018.12.010⟩. ⟨hal-01979443⟩

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