Shark culling.

How do you feel about that?

The surfing great, Kelly Slater says where there's an over-abundance of sharks, we should cull - he's talking about the French island of Reunion here.

He says the ocean is out of balance after another surfer died there last week. A young kid, he says, following his passion.


It's a pretty treacherous area. Bull sharks have killed 20 people in the waters around the island in a little over five years.

Your odds, if you get in the water, aren't great.

And perhaps not surprisingly, Slater, an 11-time world champion, has come under fire for his comments.

Culling sharks for food around Reunion Island was banned by the French government 18 years ago. There's a toxin in the shark's flesh, apparently, and it makes people ill.

So the bull and tiger shark population has grown quite rapidly.

Slater says that's led to an imbalance and if the rate of attack happened anywhere else in the world, he says millions of people would be dying.

He's since clarified his position again on this issue: he's not advocating a worldwide destruction of any species, but says many more marine species would flourish if there wasn't an over-abundance of bull sharks.

He says it's not about surfing. He says it's a human and environmental issue.

And so Slater is advocating for a lawful and ethical cull.

The same occurs in Africa: elephants are culled, but that's largely because of the destruction they cause to the environment. They have to keep that population in check.

I guess the question with our coastal waters though, is: Do we need to human-proof them?

What would we do here if a similar issue arose?

Would we cull? Do you need to strike a balance between marine and human life and the environment?

Twenty fatal shark attacks in around five years is a lot.

And Slater insists his suggestion of a cull is not a selfish act on his part. It's not him being selfish for his sport. He says it's a very real issue.