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Egypt to probe illegal shark hunting

Egypt has long been the ‘diving backyard’ of European divers, who go there to look at the reefs. Further South, there used to be a lot of sharks, but according to visitors, the numbers have declined. Several species of sharks are found in Red Sea waters but are rarely responsible for attacks on people, although there have been isolated incidents 2010 and 2011. And with so many tourists in the water, these shark incidents made relations between sharks and people tense. Officials went out to kill ‘the’ shark, even though the rogue shark is a myth (listen to the TED Talk of social scientist Christopher Neff at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcmy2Bd23wE) and read a CNN article at http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/12/05/egypt.shark.attack/index.html

Following a claim of a conservation group that illegal shark fishing trips are advertised, Hisham Zazou, Egypt’s tourism minister says he’s ordered an investigation into shark  hunting.  The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) said they  also had reports of illegal shark hunting in the Suez Governorate.

“HEPCA and the Red Sea community are outraged at the disturbing news coming  out of the Suez Governorate; the recurring slaughter of the gentle and  endangered whale shark,” a release from the organization said.

“Whale sharks are one of the most beautiful and timid of the shark species,  which feed on plankton and pose no danger to humans whatsoever. They are  internationally classified as an endangered species and hunting them is a  violation of environmental law.”

Grey Reef Sharks in the Red Sea

 

HEPCA, together with the National Parks of the Red Sea and with extensive support from the Red Sea Governor, achieved a milestone result in 2006 when the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries issued a national decree banning shark fishing and serving shark meat in restaurants.  A comprehensive campaign led to securing this decree, which ensured Egypt’s compliance to international agreements such as the Convention on International Trading of Endangered Species (CITES).

It would be a shame, if after years of protection, the shark populations in the Egyptian Red Sea would be affected by illegal fishing trips…

The general status of the Red Sea Shark is worrisome (see also our news post on the work of Julia Spaet http://www.dutchsharksociety.org/red-sea-sharks-a-worrisome-status/)

 

 

 

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