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Experts bid to halt shark attacks

Shark experts investigating a series of attacks on swimmers in Egypt have recommended a ban on feeding fish and dumping carcasses in the water.

They also suggested building observation towers on the beach at Sharm el-Sheikh and running naval patrols to alert tourists against attacks.

Last week a shark killed a 70-year-old German while she was snorkelling in the Red Sea, just a few days after sharks mauled three Russians and a Ukrainian, sparking a closure of the beaches at the international holiday destination.

The experts said the tourists feeding the fish and some meat traders tossing carcasses into the coastal waters was behind the sharks' sudden interest in human flesh.

A decline in the numbers of fish the sharks are accustomed to eating due to warming waters and overfishing were also cited as possible factors.

South Sinai Governor Mohammed Shousha admitted that the rush to reopen the beaches after a couple sharks were caught last week was a mistake. It was after swimmers returned to the waters that the German women was killed.

"I must say we were wrong at the beginning," he said, acknowledging that the two sharks caught were probably not involved in the attack. Beaches were immediately reclosed after the fatality.

Beaches should only be reopened once a system of patrols and observation towers was in place, said the experts.

They also recommended imposing strict fines on boat owners and tourists dumping bait into the water to attract fish for divers, relying on hotels and dive centres to educate visitors.

The governor added that past shark incidents can also be tied to the dumping of animal carcasses into the coastal waters.


From Belfast Telegraph