At the end of last year, a spate of shark attacks left three tourists injured and one elderly woman dead. What caused the sharks to act so contrary to their nature is still under investigation, though the situation appears to be under control.
The well-publicized incident took a toll on the region’s tourism industry, which recovered following the government’s decision to lift the snorkeling ban. South Sinai’s governor has now announced that all sport fishing – by locals and tourists alike – will be henceforth banned.
Almasry Alyoum reports that Governor Abdel Fadeel Shousha banned all forms of recreational fishing around Aqaba Bay, which has been a protected area since 1992.
The area’s that be regulated will stretch from the southern part of Ras Mohamed Governorate in Sharm al-Sheikh to Nort Nabq. This includes all of the resort beaches.
It emerged that local tourism operators were taking tourists out – often in unlicensed boats – to fish. This frequently occurred near the coral reefs, the ecosystem of which was subsequently jeopardized.
Violators will be punished, the governor said.
The Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) encouraged the move. The diving official Ziyad al-Basel pointed out that the ban has been posted on both the CDWS and all affiliated websites.
This is a deeply encouraging move on the governor’s part that demonstrates not only Sinai’s commitment to tourism, which generates a lot of money, but also, finally, a deeper understanding of the healthy functioning of its marine ecosystem.
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