RED SEA SHARKS – FAQ
On this page I hope to answer some of the commonly asked questions about sharks as well as provide some links to the most interesting and relevant Youtube vidoes.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY ?
Hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Marsa Alam every year, many of them diving or snorkelling in areas where sharks are common, but as far as I’m aware there has only ever been one fatal attack.
A French woman was killed by a shark while diving at a remote site off the Marsa Alam coastline in the summer of 2009. However it is thought that she may have aggravated the shark by offering it food which would have changed the shark’s behaviour.
Elsewhere off Egypt’s Red Sea coast attacks have also been rare. A man was killed whilst snorkelling off Sharm El Sheikh in 2004 and there was a brief but extremely unusual series of attacks on swimmers off Sharm El Sheikh late in 2010.
On 30 November, a 48 year old woman had her foot and arm bitten by an oceanic white tip shark while snorkelling at Coral Bay. 15 minutes later a 70 year old woman snorkelling nearby had her foot and right forearm severed. The next morning two men were attacked and badly injured off Ras Nasrani. And finally on 5 December, a 70 year old woman was killed by an oceanic white tip also while snorkelling in the Sharm El Sheikh area.
There was huge media attention following the series of attacks. Some Egyptians even chose to blame them on an Israeli plot to destroy the country’s tourist industry – something for which there is absolutely no factual basis. More serious analysts speculated that the more likely cause could have been the dumping of dead sheep into the sea by cargo ships or shark feeding by divers.
Despite this extremely unusual episode, as of June 2012, we only know of three fatalities off the Egyptian coast as a consequence of shark attacks during the last ten years. Of the 368 species of shark worldwide only 20 represent any danger to humans. And statistically shark attacks are very rare. You are more likely to be killed by falling out of bed or by a toaster. Annually over one million people are killed in car accidents every year, but worldwide fatalities from shark attacks average just five a year. The risk of being struck by lightning is ten times greater.
HOW CAN I MINIMIZE THE RISK OF ATTACK ?
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF SHARK SPECIES IN THE RED SEA ?
Well “common” is an exaggeration as many Red Sea shark populations are in decline and endangered but if you are lucky enough to see a shark, the relatively more numerous Red Sea species include oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, silkly shark, silvertip shark, tiger shark, whale shark, whitetip reef shark, zebra shark and grey reef shark.
From the table below you can see that even the most populous shark species in the Red Sea are considered to be at serious risk. A status of near threatened means the species is likely to become endangered in the near future. A status of vulnerable means a very high risk of endangerment in the near future while endangered means a species is at a high risk of extinction in the wild.
|Grey Reef||2.0 m||near threatened||near coral reefs|
|Oceanic Whitetip||3.5 m||vulnerable||deep water|
|Scalloped Hammerhead||3.5 m||endangered||deep water|
|Silky Shark||3.3 m||near threatened||deep water|
|Silvertip||3.0 m||near threatened||islands & reefs|
|Tiger Shark||5.5 m||near threatened||near coral reefs|
|Whale Shark||12.0m||vulnerable||reefs & deep water|
|Whitetip Reef||2.0 m||near threatened||crevices or caves|
|Zebra Shark||2.5 m||vulnerable||sandy areas near reefs.|
HOW FAST CAN A SHARK SWIM ?
The Mako shark is the quickest and can reach speeds of up to 45 mph (72 kph).
WHICH ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS SPECIES ?
Only ten species present any significant danger to humans and the most dangerous in the Red Sea are probably the mako, the tiger and the oceanic whitetip.
HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE ?
Most live to between twenty and thirty years though the giant whale sharks which can be found off Marsa Alam can live up to 100 years.
HOW INTELLIGENT ARE SHARKS ?
They have a similar brain to body mass as many mammals and birds and frequently exhibits signs of social, playful and highly inquisitive behaviour. Some species even appear to work as a team when hunting.
I WANT TO GO DIVING NEAR MARSA ALAM.
WHO SHOULD I CONTACT ?
Email email@example.com or contact him via WhatsApp on +201284332337.