A government-affiliated marine institute on Thursday asserted that search operations conducted off the coast of Sharm al-Sheikh–where a tourist was killed and four others wounded in shark attacks last month–had failed to turn up any sharks in the area.
“Our research ship found no sharks near the beaches of Sharm's hotel resorts,” said Sherif Fattouh, head of the fisheries division at the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries.
“The sharks disappeared after we issued a ban on illegal shark feeding,” he explained. “They have stopped coming close to the shore since there is no longer any food to be found there.”
The research ship “Salsabil” had searched along 8 kilometers of coastline near Sharm al-Sheikh, from north of Naama Bay to Ras Nosrani. Professional divers used high-tech sonar equipment to monitor the sea floor.
“Nevertheless, some sharks are indigenous to the Red Sea,” Fattouh said, advising swimmers in the area to take precautions and follow standard safety procedures.
Tourism represents one of Egypt's chief sources of foreign currency, along with Suez Canal revenues and remittances sent home by expatriate Egyptians.