Reunion Island resident says he has no problems seeing sharks in the region killed to protect water users.

Reunion Island resident Mick Asprey, formerly of Australia, says he has no problems seeing sharks in the region killed to protect water users.

The killing of sharks in an effort to protect beach-goers was met by protests in Western Australia whereas on the other side of the world in a tiny French territory, locals protested for the killing of sharks.

The situation on Reunion Island, which is in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, is similar in some ways but different in others to WA, where seven fatal shark attacks within three years prompted shark kill zones to be implemented.

On Reunion Island it was five fatal shark attacks within a similar period that prompted the killing of sharks.

To put it into perspective, the deadly shark attacks in the Reunion region happened across a 20-kilometre section of coastline.

The WA coast is the largest of any state in Australia; the attacks happened along a small portion of that which measures about 300 kilometres with other non-fatal attacks hundreds of kilometres further up and down the coast in less populated areas.

Great white sharks have been responsible for most of the attacks in WA, whereas bull sharks are blamed for the deaths in Reunion.

While in Perth and the lower part of the state, swimmers might be sticking closer to shores and some surfers and divers may have become a little apprehensive about going into the water.

In Reunion, swimming is banned along about 90 per cent of the island's coast and surfing has practically been outlawed.

Former Bondi resident Mick Asprey, who has lived on the island for the past four decades and runs a surf shop, spoke to Fairfax Media about the threat of shark attacks.

"I don't think there were attacks around that time [1970s and '80s] before the 1990s, there probably weren't enough people in the water," he said.

"The locals aren't likely to swim; they can be a bit frightened of the water.

"It's (the shark threat) pretty disastrous here, it's happened over about 20 kilometres of coast," Mr Asprey said.

"If they had that rate of attacks on Sydney beaches they'd kill all the sharks.

"There are a lot less people here [than WA]. Everyone who gets taken, bitten or eaten is someone everyone known, everybody knows everybody."

He said about a dozen associations were formed in regard to taking direct action to stop people getting attacked by sharks and protests were held where people called for the government to step in and have sharks killed.

Mr Asprey said while "everyone's got their own ideas" about why there had been so many shark attacks there were a few common ideas about it.

"You'd need a thousand years to get enough information from research."

He believes there are more sharks in the area.

"They stopped fishing here for sharks and larger fish in 2007 because of toxins, fears about ciguatera."

"All of a sudden there seemed to be an increase in the shark population.

"I think it could've caused territorial conflict and large sharks becoming aggressive."

Mr Asprey said the government used research into whether these toxins were still present as an "excuse" to kill sharks.

Bull and tiger sharks of a certain size are caught on drum lines similar to those in WA, killed and studied to see if they contain toxins.

"They decided to use this discovery as an excuse, investigating whether the fish still had toxins in them and then hope to allow fishing again if they are safe to eat."

Mr Asprey described the drum line program as "a sophisticated system" that sends a message to a fisherman at any time of day or night who then have two hours to get out to the hook and deal with the shark or if it another animal to release it.

In Reunion, which has about 207 kilometres of coastline, there are three drum lines, in WA, where there is more than 10,000 kilometres of coast line, there are 72 drum lines, some in the South West and some along metropolitan beaches.

Mr Asprey said he was glad the system in Reunion allowed the humane release of other animals such as stingrays or turtles.

The drum lines in WA do not have the technology to send alerts to those monitoring them to let them know something has been caught and not monitored 24 hours a day.

They are monitored from 6am to 6pm; meaning some animals could remain in the hooks for more than 12 hours before being released or killed. 

Mr Asprey said swimming or surfing along beaches that do not have surveillance has been banned since about September with the threat of a penalty also in place for those who enter the water in those areas.

He said most people swam in more protected lagoons or beaches where nets were in place.

"There's no surveilance on any surf beaches so surfing is pretty much illegal," Mr Asprey said.

He said not all surfers were put off and continued to surf, even one of his friends who had lost an arm in a shark attack.

"It's basically a family situation, if a surfer has kids or a wife that don't want them to go into the water," Mr Asprey said.

"I don't think anyone's been fined [for surfing or swimming where it is banned].

"It's basically to cover themselves because if anyone goes to sue them after something happening."

He said the police did try to enforce the law on one particular occassion that he was aware of.

"The police were pissed off no one was taking notice and they carried out a raid.

"It wasn't a good day for surfing so they didn't catch anyone."

Mr Asprey described how police nearly caught one man but he "made a run for it".

"The following Saturday about 150 people turned up to defy the police, it was not a great surfing day but people wanted to make a point."

Mr Asprey said there has been a decrease in the amount of people surfing and he'd seen a big decrease in business at his surf shop in the few years leading up to the implementation of drum lines.

He said even though surfing was pretty much unlawful, surfers had been getting back into the water a bit more since the drum lines were deployed.

Mr Asprey said he'd seen a "slight increase" in business since the drum line program to kill sharks began.

As a surfer himself, Mr Asprey said he did not surf in areas that he considered to be "higher risk".

"The issue is basically here on the island, off the coast the drop offs are incredible, there are places where you can go 50 metres out and then it drops off almost a kilometre down, where ocean-going sharks come by from the deep water."

While he hasn't been in the water since dislocating his shoulder in January, once he recovers he hopes to be back in the water whenever the surf is up.

At 65 years Mr Asprey said he's had his "fun" and says he can accept it if something happens to him.

"I'm not confident that this would exterminate a species but I am confident we've got a problem here in the middle of the ocean, they aren't endangered," he said.

"I don't have a problem with it, especially when they are killing your friends.

"It might not reduce the quantity by much but it might end up allowing the fisherman back to fish which could help to reduce numbers and balance things out a bit."

He questioned the backlash from thousands who protested against the shark kill zones in WA.

"I understand what's happening in WA, people have got nothing better to do and decide to protest or jump on the band wagon," Mr Asprey said.

"We're not out there protesting about killing kangaroos, which happens- why? It's just being accepted."

While Mr Asprey said he knew how the sharks that were caught were put to their death, he would not reveal the details as the people who carry out the work do not want it being made public because of concern it could be "taken out of context".

In WA, photographs of large sharks being shot in the head and descriptions of how multiple shots were required in order to kill the animals outraged some.