Just after authorities reopened the tourist area to snorkelers following three separate shark attacks last week, a German woman was attacked and killed in Sharm al-Sheikh yesterday. Last week three Russian tourists were originally attacked by an Oceanic White Tip shark, which conservationists say is very unusual behavior for this species.
In response, the Ministry of Tourism instructed Egypt’s Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CDWS) to close down all beaches with the exception of the Ras Mohammed Natural Preserve. Yesterday we reported that two sharks were killed, but the Hurghada Environmental Protection Agency (HEPCA) confirmed that photos of the Mako and White Tip sharks did not match those of the shark that originally injured the snorkelers. The park authorities hasty handling of this matter has led to the tragic death of an innocent woman.
Authorities originally promised to relocate the marauding shark to the Gulf of Suez, but instead sent a twelve man team to capture and kill two sharks listed as vulnerable on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
In a statement listed on its website, HEPCA condemned that move and issued a statement calling for more prudent measures. The park authorities lifted the snorkeling ban (Egypt can’t stand to lose its tourism Pounds). Assured of safety, the German tourist who was snorkeling was killed instantly.
Egypt’s Tourism Minister Zuhair Garana told AFP news agency that they have closed the beaches, the BBC reports. Again.
“We are getting marine biologists from abroad to assess the situation and why there was this change in biological nature,” he said, referring to the repeated nature of the attacks, which some experts say is unusual.
Regarding the cause, a new theory has emerged.
Peers Cawley, who is a dive instructor at Sharm al-Sheikh, told the BBC that sharks are not usually sighted in Sharm al-Sheikh at this time of year, that they are more likely to appear in the summer months.
He added that following Eid celebrations, an Australian cargo ship out at sea dumped dead sheep that later appeared on the Sinai peninsula’s shore. He speculates but does not confirm that there is a connection.
It is also possible that overfishing has caused the sharks to seek new sources of food.
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