File Photo: A general view showing a partially empty beach in the resort town of Sharm el Sheik, Egypt. PA
According to an eight-page report released by the committee, a single tiger shark was behind the two attacks – which involved an Austrian tourist and a Romanian tourist on July 1, 2022 – judging by the bite marks on the victims , who were snorkeling at the time of the attacks.
Earlier this month, AP reported that a 68-year-old Austrian woman died at Nile Hospital in Hurghada on Friday from injuries sustained in the attack, citing a health official who spoke under covered with anonymity. The news agency did not mention a second victim, as his body had not been discovered at the time.
According to the committee, the body of the Romanian tourist was floated to the beach the next day as committee members investigated the first incident. The committee said the Romanian tourist was attacked before the Austrian tourist in the Gulf of Sahl Hashish.
The committee attributed the attacks to the presence of the shark in the shallow waters given that it is mating and spawning season, which runs from mid-April to the end of July. The committee added that the reason for the attack was likely food.
Red Sea Governor Amr Hanafy has banned all boating activities in the area of the attacks, without mentioning when they will be allowed to resume.
Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years. In 2020, a young Ukrainian boy lost an arm and an Egyptian tour guide a leg in a shark attack.
In 2018, a shark killed a Czech tourist off a Red Sea beach. A similar attack killed a German tourist in 2015. In 2010, shark attacks killed a European tourist and maimed several others off Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Hurghada.
In its report, the committee formed by the Ministry of Environment to determine the reasons for the recent attack listed a number of reasons for shark attacks in the Red Sea.
Overfishing in the Red Sea, overexploitation of dive and snorkel sites, and humans feeding the fish all contribute to shark attacks as the animals search for new places to feed, driving them to coasts and shallow areas.
The committee presented a list of recommendations to be implemented in the short and long term.
In the short term, the committee recommended monitoring the area where the attacks took place, immediately stopping recreational fishing and allowing snorkeling activities only under the supervision of licensed guides.
For the long term, the committee recommends the establishment of a comprehensive management program for diving and snorkeling areas to preserve the lives of divers and safeguard marine life.
The committee also recommended regulating fishing in the Red Sea, including suspending commercial and recreational fishing from mid-April to the end of July.