Egyptian tourism minister opens probe into shark hunting

Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Friday 22 Mar 2013

Reports of shark fishing in protected Red Sea waters have prompted a government investigation


Egypt’s tourism minister Hisham Zazou has ordered an investigation into the hunting of sharks in the Red Sea, following a complaint submitted by the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), the ministry stated on Thursday.

According to the conservation NGO's complaint, a tourism agent in the Red Sea city of Hurghada has advertised shark fishing activities along coral reefs and in nature reserves, which is illegal.

There were other reported incidents of 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. 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,” HEPCA stated on Wednesday.

Sharks are found in Red Sea waters but are rarely responsible for attacks on people. 

In November 2010, three Russians and a Ukrainian were injured in a shark attack in the Red Sea waters near Sharm El-Sheikh, prompting a temporary ban on swimming in some areas.

In December 2011, a 70-year-old German woman was killed in a similar attack after the ban was lifted.

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