So the news today is that there have been three shark attacks here in Sharm el Sheikh.
For the full story, please read this article, as opposed to the dramatic horror stories running around the internet.
It is of course a complete tragedy that this has occurred, however it is really rare for these sharks to attack, so we can only guess that some kind of activity was encouraging them to draw close to the snorklers, either fish were being fed in the vicinity, or maybe the snorklers were too far away from the reef.
For the time-being dive sites close to the incidents have been closed to all watersports activities tomorrow, and the plan is to locate and remove the shark (releasing it in waters away from tourist activity). Whether this will actually happen, or whether the shark will end up being destroyed, I don't know.
It is a tragedy on both sides. Both for the shark, as I have a terrible feeling that it will end up being destroyed for doing only what comes naturally, and of course for the families of the victims.
So all the beaches are back open as normal after research divers did some checking out of the reefs the other day.
To be honest, all the experts agree that whilst these events are a huge tragedy, they are very unlike the usual behaviour of these creatures and it was likely that the victims are likely to have been involved in activities such as fishing or feeding the fish in order for this to have happened.
Sadly the ministry of tourism panicked and wanted to kill all sharks in the area! Thus killing the diving industry for sure, and not realising that by doing this, they would ultimately destroy the reef itself. Thankfully the CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Watersports) has fought this decision tooth and nail to ensure that despite two sharks being caught and killed the other day, no more will be slaughtered.
We need to focus on preventing the illegal practice of feeding the fish.
Only yesterday, days after this incident, a group of snorkelers were spotted feeding the fish on a local dive site!! Their guide was going spare trying to prevent it, however these people completely ignored these requests. There should be a system in place where if your guests blatantly ignore the rules, you can remove them from the water and have them arrested on return to the jetty. I know this happens in other countries, maybe it is time for our authorities to toughen up on those who actively choose to flout the rules. The rules are there for a very valid reason.
Sadly, since my last post there was another attack. Experts from around the globe have been called in to help investigate and address this dreadful situation. The latest update can be found at the CDWS News page
Once more it becomes apparent that our intervention with nature has had drastic repurcussions. Had people adhered to the Red Sea regulations, none of this would have happened, as it has required a collection of factors in conjunction to create this unique situation where a hungry shark has started hunting close to the reef.
I no longer feel embarrassed by my previous animated attempts to stop people feeding the fish, fishing the fish and standing on the reef. But the situation it too sad to even think about actually saying "I told you so".
Do read the press release above as you will find it far more accurate than the sensational reports found in all the newspapers.