Shark scare shuts Riviera beaches

Swimmers ordered off three tourist beaches near Nice as lifeguards spot large fish with a fin

THREE Riviera beaches were closed in a shark scare after swimmers said they had seen a fin less than 100metres from the shore.

Lifeguards went out to check in their inflatable and spotted a two-metre long fish under their boat with stiff dorsal fin, side gills and a white underbelly.

They could not say for certain if it was a shark or a dolphin and the popular tourist beach at Cagnes-sur-Mer along with the neighbouring beaches at Villeneuve-Loubet and Saint-Laurent-du-Var near Nice were closed yesterday.

This morning they were reopened after the sapeurs-pompiers made checks and nothing was found.

Later, the body of a dolphin was found on the island of Saint-Honorat off Cannes. Pompiers said the female had died from complications after giving birth

The Florida Natural History Museum has records of shark attacks in France going back to 1847 and there have been only four attacks in that time, with one fatal. The last shark attack was in 1974.

Nearly 50 species of shark have been found in the Mediterranean, including the great white, though the majority have not been seen for decades.