Egypt to probe illegal shark hunting

March 22, 2013 at 6:59 PM
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HURGHADA, Egypt, March 22 (UPI) -- Egypt's tourism minister says he's ordered an investigation into shark hunting in Red Sea protected waters following a complaint from a conservation group.

Hisham Zazou says a conservation organization in the Red Sea city of Hurghada complained of a tourism agent in the city allegedly advertising shark fishing activities on coral reefs and in nature reserves, which is illegal, Ahram Online reported Friday.

The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association said they also had reports of illegal shark hunting in the Suez Governorate.

"HEPCA and the Red Sea community are outraged at the disturbing news coming out of the Suez Governorate; the recurring slaughter of the gentle and endangered whale shark," a release from the organization said.

"Whale sharks are one of the most beautiful and timid of the shark species, which feed on plankton and pose no danger to humans whatsoever. They are internationally classified as an endangered species and hunting them is a violation of environmental law."

Several species of sharks are found in Red Sea waters but are rarely responsible for attacks on people, although there have been isolated incidents.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian were injured in an attack in the Red Sea near Sharm El-Sheik in November 2010, prompting a temporary ban on swimming in some areas.

A 70-year-old German woman was killed in a similar attack in December 2011 after the ban was lifted.

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