Beaches at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh will reopen after officials ordered new safety measures following a recent series of shark attacks.
One swimmer was killed and four others injured in attacks by at least two sharks.
The new safety measures include patrol boats and onshore viewing stations. Swimmers, divers, and snorkelers will be reminded to stay within certain areas and not to feed the sharks.
Sharm el-Sheikh hasn’t had a fatal shark attack since 2004 and it’s unclear why so many incidents have happened in so short a time. One theory is that a boat carrying animals threw some dead carcasses overboard and that encouraged the predators. Another theory says that overfishing has forced sharks to hunt closer to shore, bringing them in contact with humans.
Marine biologists are scratching their heads over the spate of shark attacks near Egypt’s Red Sea port of Sharm El-Sheikh, the BBC reports. The waters near the city, which are popular for swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers, have seen attacks that have left one tourist dead and four injured in the past week.
The attacks started last week when a shark bit three tourists in a single day. Since then another swimmer has been injured and last Sunday a German woman was killed very close to the shore. Most of the beaches are now closed and authorities are warning people to swim in groups and avoid swimming at night.
The attacks were carried out by more than one shark from more than one species, including an oceanic whitetip and a mako. Marine biologists say this is “highly unusual”. They’re unsure what has caused the attacks, but suspect that when a cargo ship dumped a load of animal carcasses overboard near the shore it might convinced the sharks that it was a new feeding ground.
The mako has since been caught, but the oceanic whitetip, which is believed to have killed the German woman, is still at large.
[Photo courtesy Johanlantz via Wikimedia Commons]
Three Russian tourists have been injured by a shark in the waters off Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, the BBC reports. The Red Sea resort, popular with swimmers and scuba divers, rarely has problems with sharks. It appears to have been an oceanic whitetip, which Jacques Cousteau once called “the most dangerous of all sharks” in his book The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea.
One of the victims is in critical condition. Most of the waters around Sharm El-Sheikh have been made off-limits until authorities can capture the shark and release it into the open ocean.
There have been some grim incidents involving sharks in recent months, including the human remains found in the stomach of a shark in the Bahamas. That said, it’s important to remember that the average swimmer has a very low risk of being attacked by one. You’re much more likely to drown. So if you’re into the ocean, keep an eye out for sharks, but be more aware of things like weather and currents.
[Photo courtesy Thomas Ehrensperger via Wikimedia Commons]