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BLUE News Shark File
photo: simon rogerson
HEPCA slams shark hunt rumours
red sea environmental group HepCa has issued a
statement slamming shark hunting rumours that followed
the high profile fatal attack by an oceanic white tip shark
on a snorkeller in the southern red sea. HepCa said
rumours that the egyptian government had granted
permission for fishing boats to break the no shark fishing
ban in response to the June attack were wholly untrue.
amr ali, managing director of HepCa also dismissed
claims that dive sites were closed around the st John’s
area and that investigations were ongoing to prosecute
operators found guilty of illegally chumming and feeding
amr ali said in a statement: ‘it was brought to our
attention from different sources that there is a rumor
saying that the egyptian government has appointed and
gave permission to some fishing boats to hunt the sharks
in the southern red sea area. please note that all these
reports are simply glaring falsehood.
‘the shark population is highly protected in the red sea
by many laws and decrees. on the other hand which Third of all sharks endangered
makes it very ironic that all fishing activities in the red sea
region are on hold because of the new fishing regulations,
a third of all the world’s sharks and rays are under serious threat of extinc-
which we hope that it will have a great positive impact on
tion according to the latest international union for Conservation of nature
the fish stock and the reefs condition, accordingly there
(iuCn) report. over fishing led by a continued demand for shark fin has been
are even no fishing vessels in the area.’
highlighted as the major threat by the iuCn, which has now 64 species of
shark on its latest red list.
of the 64 species labelled under serious threat, 2 per cent face possible
extinction. a further 24 species have been classified as near threatened in
PADI award for Sharmer
the iuCn red list.
Hammerhead sharks, common in red sea waters, rate high on the extinction
paDi has awarded a
list as the species has become a favoured target for shark finners.
prestigious Contributions
to Diver education award iuCn experts classify the great hammerhead (sphyrna mokarran) and
to emperor’s sharm el scalloped hammerhead (sphyrna lewini) sharks, as well as giant devil rays
sheikh-based course (mobula mobular), as globally endangered. smooth hammerheads (sphyrna
director steve prior. zygaena), great white (Carcharodon carcharias), basking (Cetorhinus max-
prior was awarded paDi imus) and oceanic whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus) sharks are classed as
platinum Course Director globally vulnerable to extinction, along with two species of makos (isurus
status in 2008 for the spp.) and three species of threshers (alopias spp.).
high number of successful instructor candidates he has
sharks are particularly sensitive to over-fishing due to their tendency to take
many years to mature and have relatively few young. in most cases, pelagic
paDi said his latest award is one of the highest awarded to shark catches are unregulated or unsustainable.
course directors.
sonja Fordham, deputy chair of the iuCn shark specialist group and policy
‘this special Contributions to Diver education award Director for the shark alliance, said: ‘the vulnerability and lengthy migra-
recognises the high quality and excellence of steve prior’s tions of most open ocean sharks mean they need coordinated, international
teaching,’ said paDi area representative terry Johnson. conservation plans. our report documents serious over fishing of these spe-
‘it’s not just the quantity of good instructors that he cies, in national and international waters, and demonstrates a clear need for
produces but also the extra service over and beyond the immediate action on a global scale.’
the egyptian red sea is one of the few places where a complete ban on
prior qualified as an instructor in 1991 in the uk and shark fishing has been introduced.
moved to egypt in 1996 where he also completed his
this summer divers in Hurghada and sharm el sheikh have been reporting
course director training. Following many years running
nearly-daily encounters with sharks and rays, including hammerheads, whale
dive centres in the uk, indonesia and egypt, prior and
sharks and manta rays. save our seas ( and the shark
his wife Janet now schedule and run five paDi instructor
trust ( collect data submitted online for such research
Development Courses (iDC) each year.
‘it’s always good when your efforts are recognised. our
submitted reports of such encounters offer researchers valuable information
aim has always been to create enthusiastic and effective
on global populations. the shark specialist group is expected to publish a
instructors,’ prior said. ‘i have to thank Janet, my wife, for
complete report, outlining the status of all 400 species of shark, and closely
constantly looking for ways to improve our courses.’
related skates and rays later this year.
issue 2 august / september 2009
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