Saturday, September 24, 2016

Egypt: Ministry says shark found in Sharm El-Sheikh of dangerous species

Egypt’s environment ministry said a shark recently spotted by tourists in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh is of a dangerous and aggressive species.

A video went viral last week of a group of divers and vacationists swimming after a shark in the Ras Nasrany area in Sharm El-Sheikh and attempting to touch it.

The ministry slammed in a statement Friday attempts by swimmers, as shown in the video, to “chase” the "Oceanic White Tip" shark and approach it as an “extremely dangerous” action that could have caused them great physical harm.

“Such provocative actions stimulate sharks to attack,” it added, warning that diving centres and tourist boats will be suspended in the case that such behaviour threatens human life.

The brown-coloured Oceanic White Tip shark is threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is being overfished due to high demand to use its fin in food, the ministry added.

Dangerous species of sharks are found in deep and open waters or areas around coral reefs, and near sudden and deep slopes, the ministry said.

It urged divers and tourist guides to avoid swimming in waters in the area, making noise or directly communicating with sharks, no matter how dangerous a species they are.

Ministry specialists regularly patrol the area to ensure no incidents take place.

In August, authorities in the Mediterranean governorate of Damietta banned locals from swimming in the sea after a dead shark washed ashore.

In June, Egypt imposed a temporary ban on sport fishing and offshore swimming near the popular Red Sea destination of Ain Sokhna, where a shark attack took place.

Officials at the time said the attack was likely caused by a combination of fishing and swimming in the same spot.

Shark attacks are rare in Egypt.

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