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Monday, December 6, 2010

Shark Experts called in over attacks in Sharm

Three shark experts from the US are flying to Sharm el-Sheikh where a tourist has died and four others were badly injured in attacks during the last week.

The majority of areas in Sharm el Sheikh will be open to diving activities for the Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) members and their clients tomorrow (7 December), but all snorkel activities and other watersports remain suspended in the whole of the Sharm el Sheikh coastal area.

Qualified divers with a minimum 50 logged dives were permitted to dive in Tiran and all sites south of Naama Bay but diving remained suspended in the area between Ras Nasrani to the north of Naama Bay where the Ras Mohammed National Park teams are currently working.

In a statement the CDWS said: "Following discussions with sharks experts and a series of exploratory dives, it was decided that the areas to be opened, which include the Ras Mohammed National Park and popular sites such as the Thistlegorm, were safe for experienced diving activities.

"CDWS is working with four world-renowned shark experts at this time. Three of the experts will be arriving over the next two days in Sharm el Sheikh to form an advisory team to try to assess and advise on the best course of action following the four shark attacks in areas north of Naama Bay this week."

Dr George H Burgess, the director of the Florida Program and curator of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History for Shark Research, was flying to the resort today (MONDAY).

Arriving on Tuesday are Dr Marie Levine, head of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton, USA, and Dr Ralph Collier, of the Shark Research Committee and author of Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century. Shark behavioural expert Dr Erich Ritter is assisting from his research centre based in the USA.

A Swedish research vessel is currently surveying the topography of the ocean around Sharm el Sheikh in order to supply data to shark experts to assist their work. CDWS enlisted the help of this vessel to carry out the topography survey and secured all the relevant permissions.

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