Deadliest waters dubbed ‘shark highway’ as experts try to explain record attacks

A paradise island has baffled boffins who have spent years trying to figure out why so many people in the region get mauled in deadly shark attacks.

Since 1913, around 30 people have been killed and a further 56 have been attacked while swimming off the coast of Réunion, located on a so-called "shark highway" in the Indian Ocean between Australia and South Africa.

The island has one of the highest rates of fatal shark attacks in the world, with three deaths per million being attributed to the deadly fish.

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The death rate on the island of 900,000 is more than three times that of South Africa and vastly more than the US and Australia.

Attacks by the deadly predators are so prolific that some areas of the island have banned swimming and surfing to curb the loss of human life

Scientists have been trying to figure out why there are so many attacks per year in the area, to no avail.

In the meantime, the French government, which controls the island, has allowed locals to hunt down a certain number of sharks per year.

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But conservationists have decried the move, claiming it’s the wrong way of trying to solve the problem.

Scientist Eric Clua doesn't believe La Réunion actually has more sharks than other areas – but the culls are creating a bigger problem for the marine ecosystem.

He toldThe Sun: "I think we dealt with the problem in the very wrong way.

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"Instead of culling sharks blindly, we should be looking for the problem individuals – and we could do that. But instead, we are blindly killing animals.

"Just imagine you have a serial killer in London that kills a human being every six months.

"So you just send the army in the street and you say, OK, look, just kill human beings, and then we will solve the problem. It doesn’t work that way."

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He believes that it isn't the whole shark population that is biting people, but a select few troublemakers, though this idea is controversial in the world of marine biology.

"People say the more sharks, the more bites. But actually, it doesn't work that way,” he claimed.

"Because human beings are not a natural prey for sharks."

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