ST LEU, Réunion, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- French officials have canceled a plan to open the water off Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to shark fishing after an increase in attacks on humans.
The island government had announced a bounty on bull sharks in response to the attacks, but the Victorin Lurel, France's Minister for Overseas Territories, revoked the plan in response to protests from environmentalists.
Kurel said bull sharks were a protected species and killing them would violate French law.
Environmentalists from the Sea Shepard France told Radio France International the government should be looking into why bull shark attacks have increased rather than trying to reduce the population of a predator seen as an important keystone in the Reunion Island ecosystem.
Island residents, however, were more concerned with their own safety after a surfer was killed in an apparent shark attack last week. The death was the third this year caused by sharks and brought out about 300 people who tallied at the town hall in St. Leu, demanding the government allow shark fishing.