Reports say the 43-year-old man was gathering beche-de-mer near a reef off Belep yesterday afternoon when the attack occurred.
They say he was accompanied by three colleagues who raised the alarm.
An inquiry has been launched.
The incident comes just days after a 10-year-old boy lost a leg in a shark attack in a central Noumea bay.
Local canoeing clubs have suspended their activities as a result.
SOURCE: RADIO NZ