Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who bit tourists at Sharm el-Sheikh? Sharks with Israeli GPS-devices or just sharks?

 A Sharm El Sheikh marine biologist slammed the conspiracy theory circulating around the country that last week's shark attacks off the South Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh were part of an Israeli conspiracy, but the South Sinai governor supports it.
Mahmoud Hanafy, a professor of marine biology at the Suez Canal University, told Ahram Online that it is "sad," that Egyptian national TV helped perpetuate the theory that the shark attacks, which resulted in one death and four serious injuries this week, may have been controlled by Israel.
One of the rare sharks that were caught and killed. Apparently the wrong ones.  

Speaking on the public TV program "Egypt Today" yesterday, a specialist introduced as "Captain Mustafa Ismail, a famous diver in Sharm El Sheikh," said that the sharks involved in the attack are ocean sharks and do not live in Egypt's waters. When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, "no, it's who let them in?" Urged to elaborate, Ismail said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt's waters only.  "Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until they entered Sinai waters?" asked Ismail.
Earlier today, General Abdel-Fadeel Shosha, the governor of South Sinai, backed Ismail's theory. In a phone call to the TV program, he said that it is possible that Israeli intelligence, Mossad, is behind the incidents and that they are doing it to undermine the Egyptian tourism industry. He added that Egypt needs time to investigate the theory.
Marine biologist Hanafy refuted the allegations, saying that the Oceanic White Tip, blamed for the attacks, does indeed exist in Egypt's waters. He also added that the existence of a GPS inside the shark does not mean there is a conspiracy at play, adding that these "tracking devices" are often used by marine biologists to study sea life. ''It is sad that they made a person whose only knowledge of sharks comes from the movie Jaws go on national TV to propagate this mumbo-jumbo,." he said.
This morning, a team of Egyptian and foreign divers and photographers started surveying the popular diving spots of Sharm El-Sheikh, the Ras Mohamed Protectorate, and Tiran. According to General Shosha, the surveillance will be conducted for 72 hours in diving areas and 24 hours in swimming and snorkeling areas.
A 70-year-old German woman was killed on Sunday, just days after three Russians and a Ukrainian were injured.  Egypt's environment ministry caught and killed two sharks - an Oceanic White Tip and a Mako.But divers and conservationists who compared the pictures with one taken shortly before a previous attack, said it was not the same shark
Shark experts and local observers have offered a number of possible explanations for the attacks. Some say overfishing in the Red Sea may have driven sharks closer to shore. Others said the sharks could have been drawn to the area after a ship carrying Australian sheep and cattle for sacrifice during last month's Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha dumped the carcasses of animals which had died during the voyage.

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