Human impact on the presence of sharks at diving sites in EgyptPublished in 2013
HUMAN IMPACT ON THE PRESENCE OF SHARKS AT DIVING SITES OF THE SOUTHERN RED SEA, EGYPT
Ahmed M. Shawky, Alessandro De Maddalena
A study of human impact on the presence and behavior of sharks was carried out June to November 2008 at these Red Sea diving sites: Elphinstone Reef, Daedalus Reef, Big Brother Is., Small Brother Is., Zabargad Is., Rocky Is., and Habili Ali. A total of 194 hours of field observations was done; sharks were encountered during 110 of 138 dives. Eight species of sharks for a total of 292 specimens were recorded: whale shark Rhincodon typus (1 specimen), pelagic thresher shark Alopias pelagicus (12), silvertip shark Carcharhinus albimarginatus (1), grey reef shark Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos (61), silky shark Carcharhinus falciformis (2), oceanic whitetip shark Carcharhinus longimanus (123), whitetip reef shark Triaenodon obesus (5), scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini (87).The frequency of encounters in Elphinstone Reef is considerably lower than in the other study areas. Presence of recreational divers was recorded during almost all the dives: 134 cases on the total of 138 dives, with a presence of a total of 971 boats and 15,601 divers. Both the mean number of divers and the mean number of boats recorded for each dive are higher for Elphinstone Reef than in the other study sites. In Elphinstone Reef the high number of boats is also widely distributed for the entire area, making it impossible for the sharks to avoid human presence. The massive human presence in Elphinstone Reef is negatively affecting the presence of sharks and may also increase the probability of attacks on humans occurring. The number and conduct of boats of divers and boats frequenting this site need to be regulated by appropriate rules. It is therefore urgently necessary for Elphinstone Reef to be declared a protected area.
Boll. Mus. St. Nat. Venezia, 64: 51-62 (2013)