The banning of shark culls in New Caledonia’s court is a result of public criticism over environmental concerns.

A court in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, has ruled against the authorities’ shark culling practice, which was implemented after a series of attacks last year, including one that resulted in the death of an Australian tourist.

The court stated that the culls were disproportionate in terms of protecting human life and expressed concerns about the lack of scientific evaluation and data on shark populations. The municipal authority plans to appeal the decision.

The ruling came as a response to a complaint filed by the environmental group Ensemble pour la Planète (EPLP), which will receive compensation from the local authorities. EPLP’s president, Martine Cornaille, welcomed the decision but remains worried that culling could continue in other circumstances.

New Caledonia has seen an increase in shark attacks, ranking 13th globally. Environmental groups claim that a significant number of endangered sharks were unintentionally killed during the culling operations.

In 2023, swimming was banned at most of Noumea’s beaches, and a metal net was installed at one of the city’s busiest beaches. The net has faced criticism for its impact on biodiversity, but municipal authorities consider it a success and plan to install more nets this year.

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