One Shark SXM: The Public Interest Group (GIP) is getting bigger!


Announced at the start of 2022 and after having been delayed, the “One Shark SXM” Public Interest Group is now operational. An announcement made by the prefect of the Northern Islands, Vincent Berton during a press conference organized in the Prefecture last Wednesday in the presence of Blaise Bartoli, representative of the Council of the Order of Physicians for Saint-Martin / Saint-Barthélemy, Hadrien Bidenbach, “One Shark Caribbean Sea” project manager and Karim Miksa, head of the Deal Iles du Nord Territorial Unit.

On December 10, 2020, a 38-year-old French tourist from Caen (Calvados) lost her life after being the victim of a shark attack in Orient Bay. A tragic accident which had caused a real shock wave throughout the territory.

A month later, a Texan student, attending the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, in Saint-Kitts,  was in turn the victim of a shark attack, near “Booby Island” in the Narrows. The young woman had been seriously injured in the leg.

Several DNA samples taken from the wounds of the two victims have established that it was the same specimen responsible for the two attacks, in this case a tiger shark.

In this context and after having consulted Éric Clua, veterinarian and doctor in marine biology based in French Polynesia, the local authorities of Saint-Martin have launched a call for projects in order to secure in the short term - and as much as possible - the blue economy by protecting its waters against the risk of sharks in the context of nautical activities, while having a minimum impact on the ecology of sharks, thus creating the bases of the Public Interest Group (GIP) "One Shark SXM”. A project funded by the State to the tune of 500 euros. The aim is to improve the perception and prevention of risk by the public. The prerogatives of the GIP are structured around an institutional component based on the emergence and functionality of a multilateral legal personality dedicated to shark risk management, the implementation of preventive actions (first aid training, applying a tourniquet in the event of a shark attack), improving the perception of risk for professionals and users of the sea, implementing a scientific component aimed at better understanding the risk and implementation of a technical component based on scientific monitoring (monitoring of animals) at local and then regional level.

This GIP is made up of the services of the Prefecture of the Northern Islands, the Nature Reserve of Saint-Martin, the Order of Physicians, the association of Sea Trades (METIMER) and an association of fishing unions (Swali- fishermen). Other actors wishing to join the GIP are welcome!  _AF

(continuation and end in our edition of tomorrow)

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