Dahab beaches reopen safely Wednesday after shark appearance Tuesday sets off alarms

Salma El Ashmawy, Wednesday 16 Aug 2023

Dahab beaches in South Sinai reopened on Wednesday after the authorities determined that the area was safe following a shark appearance near the shores on Tuesday, according to an official source from the Ministry of Environment.

Tourists ride camels on the shores of the town of Dahab, in Egypt s southern Sinai Peninsula. AFP
Tourists ride camels on the shores of the town of Dahab, in Egypt s southern Sinai Peninsula. AFP


"The closure decision applied to the area stretching two km north and two km south of the promenade in Dahab," Mohamed Salem, the head of the Nature Protection Agency at the environment ministry, told Ahram Online.

On Tuesday evening, a video went viral on social media showing a shark swimming close to the shorelines of Dahab's promenade beach, prompting the authorities to halt all water activities.

The closure allowed authorities to scour the waters in the area for sharks in order to ensure the safety of people, Salem said.

Salem confirmed that the shark was around two metres long but the authorities could not determine its exact species.

Sharks venturing close to shorelines is a completely normal phenomenon and they do not necessarily pose a threat to beachgoers, said Salem

"Some even live in coral reefs by shorelines on the Red Sea," he added.

Tiger incident

In June, a 24-year-old Russian national lost his life to a Tiger shark attack in the popular tourist city of Hurghada on the Red Sea across the Gulf of Suez from Dahab.

The incident led to a two-day closure of all beaches in the area from Gouna to the north of Hurghada and Soma Bay.

Shortly after, the environment ministry announced an in-depth study of movement and behavioural patterns of sharks on the coasts of the Red Sea, in collaboration with an international marine life expert.

The study aims to reduce fatal encounters between swimmers and fish as well as preserve environmental balance in the habitat.

Salem stressed that the study will improve our understanding of shark behaviour.

In July 2022, two women lost their lives due to a shark attack off the coast of Hurghada.

At the time, as a result, a report, jointly issued by specialists on Red Sea protectorates and Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association, found that the mating and egg-laying season of sharks – which occurs in summer – is one of the reasons behind shark’s presence in shallow waters.

"Overfishing in the Red Sea, the overuse of diving and snorkelling sites, and humans feeding fish contribute to the shark attacks, as the animals search for new places for food, leading them to the coasts and shallow areas," the report said.

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