Egypt Independent

More shark attacks possible without protective measures, say US experts



The possibility of more shark attacks in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh is likely if the government fails to adopt sufficient measures to ensure the safety of tourists, US experts said.

Last week, marine experts said a single female whitetip shark had been linked to at least three out of five attacks on tourists, and is still at large.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian suffered severe injuries after being attacked off Sharm al-Sheikh in the space of two days last week.

Also last week, a 70-year-old female German snorkeler died after a shark tore her thigh and severed her forearm.

US marine experts assigned to helping Egyptian investigators have recommended that the South Sinai Governorate, where Sharm al-Sheikh is located, should enhance its surveillance and alarm systems to alert for the presence of certain sharks in tourist areas. Its report is expected to be released Sunday’s evening,

The report, which was obtained early by Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday, suggested that further shark attacks will remain a “possibility,” as shark species remain an integral part of the Red Sea ecological system.

Reducing further attacks, the report said, is only achievable if “all practices that affect the natural equilibrium” are “immediately stopped.”

The report added that local authorities are expected to clampdown on already illegal, but reportedly widespread, environmental infringements such as baiting, illegal fishing, and sea-dumping, which have all been suspected of creating the disequilibrium that may have incited the “abnormal” shark attacks.

It also recommended that the government “provide first-aid responders in place especially trained to deal with shark attacks.” 

The governorate should provide support for extensive research on sharks in the region that will help tag sharks and survey their behavioral and travel patterns at sea, the report recommended.