Despite capture of supposed culprits, another shark attack in Sharm el-Sheikh

BBC News is reporting that another shark attack has occurred at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Sadly, the victim, an elderly German woman, was fatally attacked by a shark while snorkeling off of the resort in Egypt.

The recent attack comes only days after 3 other people were attacked by what has been reported as an adult oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus).

It should be noted, a recent release from Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) has stated that one of the reported attacks has since been discounted and the injuries sustained were the result of contact with coral, though the BBC along with some other major news outlets are still reporting that four attacks occurred last week.

While the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh had initially been closed due to last week’s attacks, they were re-opened after environment ministry officials claimed to have caught and killed two sharks, which were reportedly identified as having been the sharks responsible for the previous attacks.

Video (seen above) and photographs of the capture of shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) were released by the environment ministry, along with the claim that the captured mako shark was responsible for the attacks. However, photographs shot by divers, of an oceanic whitetip shark involved in at least one of the attacks seemed to discredit the environment ministry claim that the mako shark they had captured was responsible for the attacks. It was later reported that a second shark, an oceanic whitetip, reportedly also involved in at least one of the attacks was captured and killed. However, HEPCA maintains that the photographs of the oceanic whitetip, taken by divers, do match up with the photographs of the captured oceanic whitetip, and that it is clear that they are not the same shark.

Beaches in the area have been closed down once again, following this most recent attack. Zuhair Garana, the Egyptian Tourism Minister, has stated that biologists are being brought in to investigate what might have triggered the string of attacks. The string of attacks is being considered highly unusual and many are left baffled as to what might be contributing to the repeated attacks.

Speculation that sharks may be in area due to the dumping of sheep carcasses by an Australian cargo ship has been widely reported across many media outlets including the BBC News article. However, there is nothing regarding this speculation that seems to indicate or explain why a shark or sharks would be targeting humans.

2 comments

  1. Tobes says:

    It seems that irresponsible shark feeding activity, baiting in the sharks, encouraging inexperienced snorkelers to get in the water with C.Longimanus have finally resulted in a series of attacks and they are not the first either. These sharks are pelagics and opportunistic feeders, they will try anything as the open ocean is rather like a desert, there’s not much out there and when there is something then its fair game. Now that these fish are used to snorkelers being in the water and with a scarcity of prey due to overfishing, they are going to get curious and approach the reefs and unfortunately attack swimmers and snorkelers. If you need more proof that people are being encouraged to snorkel with large predatory sharks just look on youtube. I think the Certifying Agencies (SSI, PADI, BSAC, NAUI) should be doing more to ensure that this sort of activity is not encouraged. As an analogy its kind of like letting tourists out of a Land Rover into a pack of lions in a Wildlife park.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGGNup1GFCE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWbdxOFO8MM&feature=related

  2. Dave says:

    I agree with Tobes above in that some dive operations encourage inexperienced divers and snorkelers to enter the water with dangerous animals. Some of us choose to have close encounters with dangerous marine life, know the risks and accept full responsibility for ourselves. I have seen dive operations here in Hawaii nearly pushing very green divers in the water with false killer whales, pilot whales and oceanic whitietips, all the while nearly shaming them for being apprehensive. That is foolish behavior on the dive guides part. Pilot whales have attacked people before, oceanics are one of the most dangerous sharks in the ocean. Everyone should be made fully aware of the potential danger and that they would be entering the ocean at their own risk with a very capable and unpredictable top predator. Or not even consider putting tourists in the water with these animals.

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