Egypt: Shark caught at Red Sea resort

2010-12-09 10:37
Sharm el-Sheikh - A top Egyptian official said on Wednesday that he believes that one of two sharks involved in attacks on tourists in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh has been caught, while the other is still free.

Governor of South Sinai Mohammed Shousha said according to initial findings from US and Egyptian experts a Mako shark caught on Thursday mauled two tourists last week.

An Oceanic White Tip that mauled two Russians last week and killed a German woman on Sunday remains at large and the resort's beaches remain closed indefinitely.

The scientists drew their conclusions based on the pattern of bite marks on the victims and according to witness accounts, Shousha said.

Tourist attraction

A team of US experts is in Sharm el-Sheikh to help investigate the unusual series of attacks in one of the world's top diving destinations.

"The search for the Oceanic White Tip continues," he said. Divers are surveying the waters.

Sharm el-Sheikh is a major Egyptian tourist attraction, with a busy airport that brings in package tours from Europe and offers a warm and quick escape from frigid winter temperatures on the continent.

Divers are drawn by the steep drop-offs of coral reefs just offshore that offer deep walls of coral with a rich and colourful sea life. There is also an observatory to view sharks.

Shark attacks in the area are rare and authorities were scrambling to prevent them from cutting into the crucial revenues that Red Sea tourism brings to Egypt.

The resort at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula has boomed since the 1980s. There are some 100 hotels, long stretches of sandy white beaches, desert safari excursions and a vibrant night life.

Spate of attacks inexplicable

Beach tourism is believed to contribute about 66% of Egypt's total income from tourism, which is expected to reach $12.3bn by the end of the current fiscal year in June, Tourism Minister Zohair Garanah was quoted as saying in state-owned Al-Gomhuria daily.

Experts so far have been at a loss to explain the reasons for the sudden spate of shark attacks.

Environmentalists have theorised that overfishing or depletion of food sources from other causes could be driving sharks closer to shore in search of food.

There are also accusations that tourist boats are illegally dumping meat into the water to attract sharks for passengers wanting to photograph them.
 

- AP
Read more on:    egypt  |  animals
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