Egypt lifts ban on snorkeling in Marsa Alam following shark attack

Ahram Online , Tuesday 15 Aug 2017

Marsa Alam
Marsa Alam's Qulaan island (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)

Egypt has lifted a temporary suspension on snorkeling in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam that was imposed following a shark attack on an Austrian tourist earlier this month, the environment ministry has said.

A 25-year-old woman suffered a leg injury on 5 August after a shark attacked her while snorkelling at a tourist resort in the city. The ministry said at the time that the woman had swum past warning signs.

In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry said a probe by a committee of experts following the attack showed that the fish was a 1.8/2-meter-long oceanic white-tip shark that had been moving at a distance of 10km off the coast for almost 10 days prior to the incident.

A team of specialised experts caught the shark after it displayed abnormal behaviour in repeatedly approaching the area where holidaymakers engage in water activities.

The ministry's specialists are currently examining the shark in an attempt to determine the reason behind its behaviour.

The ministry says it is continuing to scan the area to ensure the safety of holidaymakers as beach and sea activities resume.

Shark attacks are very rare in Egypt, with only 34 cases reported since 1827, according to the Shark Research Institute, a US-based scientific research organisation.

However, environmentalists say certain actions on the part of divers and swimmers may provoke attacks.

The Society for the Rescue and Protection of the Environment of the Red Sea warns diving guides and tourists against feeding sharks or otherwise provoking them.

The organisation says the Austrian tourist was likely probably attacked as a result of such behaviour.

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