UPDATE - 7 DEC 2010
DOES NOT AFFECT BLUE O TWO OPERATION
The majority of areas in Sharm el Sheikh will once again be open to diving activities for CDWS members and their clients tomorrow (8 December), however, please note that the same restrictions will apply on where these can take place and on client experience. All snorkelling activities and other watersports - with the exception of glass bottom boat operations - remain suspended in the whole of the Sharm el Sheikh coastal area.
CDWS would like to assure all members that the organisation is working continuously with all the relevant authorities and shark experts to try to resolve this situation in the most appropriate and safe way for all concerned.
CDWS is working together with officials and shark experts to determine the causes behind such unusual behaviour, including possible indications of illegal fishing or feeding in the area.
blue o two supports the CDWS and HEPCA and DOES NOT in any way condone the random killing of sharks.
blue o two operates along the Red Sea protectorate coast (not Sharm El Sheikh) and is therefore unaffected by the ban. Our vessels are operating as normal.
Official statements from the CDWS and HEPCA below...
CDWS statement updateTuesday 7 16:00:
- diving possible in Sharm el Sheikh tomorrow (8 December) The majority of areas in Sharm el Sheikh will once again be open to diving activities for CDWS members and their clients tomorrow (8 December), however, please note that the same restrictions will apply on where these can take place and on client experience. All snorkelling activities and other watersports - with the exception of glass bottom boat operations - remain suspended in the whole of the Sharm el Sheikh coastal area.
Qualified diving clients, who must have a minimum of 50 logged dives, are permitted to participate in scuba activities run by boat by CDWS members in the following areas:
- area of Tiran
- all dive sites south of Naama Bay to Ras Mohamed National Park
- the entire area of Ras Mohamed National Park
Diving remains completely banned at this time in the area between Ras Nasrani to the north of Naama Bay.
No shore diving is permitted anywhere in the Sharm el Sheikh area.
Under NO circumstances are introductory or training dives permitted to take place in the sea anywhere in Sharm el Sheikh until CDWS members are notified otherwise.
However, training and introductory diving activities are able to take place in other resorts, such as Dahab.
CDWS has asked divers to remain vigilant and report any shark behaviour they see to the organisation's office in Sharm el Sheikh. This information - where possible - should include location, time and specific type of shark. Please also note down the behaviour, depth, duration at particular depths and how long the sighting lasts for.
This information should be emailed to one of the following people at the CDWS office:
Amr Elbendary: email@example.com Tel: 012 1115508
Ahmed Mansour: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 018 126 8686
Nabil Fadlallah: email@example.com Tel: 012 338 7779
Pictures of sharks taken should by sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For videos, please copy these on to a disc and take this directly to the CDWS office in Hadaba.
Three world renowned shark experts have arrived in Sharm el Sheikh and are currently working with the CDWS. These experts are: Dr Marie Levine, head of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton, USA; Dr George H Burgess, the director of the Florida Program and curator of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History for Shark Research; and Dr Ralph Collier, of the Shark Research Committee and author of Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century. Shark behavioural expert Dr Erich Ritter is assisting from his research centre based in the USA.
They have already begun to work together to analyse all the data collected. Further updates on the situation will be provided as soon as available.
CDWS would like to assure all members that the organisation is working continuously with all the relevant authorities and shark experts to try to resolve this situation in the most appropriate and safe way for all concerned. The CDWS also stresses to all members and the public that it does not in any way condone the random killing of sharks.
For further information please contact Laura Coppa by email email@example.com or Mary Gleeson firstname.lastname@example.org
Short summary of the events from HEPCA 03/12/10:
On November 30th, 2010, two snorkelers were attacked by a shark off a beach just north of Naama Bay, both suffering serious injuries. Photographs taken minutes before the 2nd attack show a fully grown oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), that closely circled divers before approaching and eventually attacking a swimmer on the surface.
On December 1st, 2010, a third swimmer was attacked just a few kilometres north of the previous incidents; no photographic material is available from this event.
Reports of a fourth attack were later corrected, stating that the injuries to the hands of the swimmer involved were sustained by contact with corals rather than from the bites of a shark.
As a first response, the Ministry of Tourism suspended all water activities for the Sharm El Sheikh area, with the exception of Ras Mohamed National Park, until the evening of December 3rd, 2010.
Additionally, National Park Authorities attempted to capture the shark(s) believed to be involved in the attacks. As a result, two individual sharks were caught on December 2nd, one mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) and one oceanic whitetip shark.
Comparing the photographs of the oceanic whitetip shark responsible for the 2nd attack with the images of the captured oceanic whitetip shark, it is clear that they don't show the same individual.
Hesham Gabr, the chairman of the CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Watersports), has condemned the random catching of sharks in the area. In agreement with HEPCA, both organisations would have preferred a more graded response to the unfortunate events. No attacks on divers have been reported from any of the dive sites in the Egyptian Red Sea, making the closure of all diving activities an unnecessary and extreme measure. While we fully appreciate the difficult and sensitive situation after such an unusual string of attacks for the tourism sector, the random catching and killing of large oceanic sharks in the area does not help to mitigate the problem; additionally it sends the wrong message that people entering the water are generally in danger of being attacked by sharks.
Such attacks are extremely rare and in the past have often been connected to illegal fishing and feeding activities.
We therefore welcome the efforts of the CDWS today, sending out volunteering dive professionals and registered CDWS members to monitor and observe the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites for any shark activity. These divers were encouraged to document any shark sightings by taking underwater images, so that we will be able to verify and potentially identify any oceanic whitetip sharks still present in the area.
According to an ongoing study of oceanic whitetip sharks in the Egyptian Red Sea, only 11 individuals resembling the size and proportion of the shark responsible for the 2nd attack have been documented throughout the last 6 years. All these sightings were from remote areas such as Daedalus, Brother Islands or the St. Johns plateau. 10 of these sharks were photographed by divers only on one occasion, and - to our knowledge - did not approach any humans or human activity afterwards.
These observations support the idea, that the string of attacks is the result of a single individual behaving in a highly atypical way.
Both HEPCA and CDWS call for calm in this unprecented and difficult situation, and appeal to tourists and professionals to follow well-known behavioural guidelines recommended in areas where sharks might be present.
- Do not fish, feed or bait any marine animal. Do not enter the water if any of these activities occur in the vicinity.
- Stay calm! Avoid any quick, jerky or erratic movements.
- If you want or need to leave the water for any reason, do so in a calm and orderly fashion.
For more detailed guidelines on diving with sharks in the Egyptian Red Sea, feel free to contact email@example.com.
According to latest information, all restrictions on diving and other water activities in the Sharm El Sheikh area have been lifted, and operations will be back to normal tomorrow morning (saturday, December 4th).