Great news below from HEPCA following my recent post about disgusting, shameful practices by supposed “dive professionals” in the Red Sea
Related Post: Ban these guides from the Red Sea – Shameful practices!
From HEPCA: In April of 2013, our members and supporters exposed the illegal activities of a dive guide named Mahamad Shabana, who decided to post pictures of himself engaging in illegal activities in the Red Sea. Mr. Shabana came up with the great idea of posting some unsavory photos of himself on Facebook; one of which depicts him sarcastically biting into the corpse of a dead white tip reef shark. There are also photos of him spearfishing as well as harassing and touching marine life, which have been widely circulated on Facebook and other social network sites.
We’ve just received confirmation that his Excellency Mohamed Kamel, the Red Sea Governor, has banned Mahamad Shabana from guiding in the Egyptian Red Sea for 1 year. The Governor has ordered the legal affairs department to follow up and finalize all of the legal court procedures for the case against Mahamad Shabana. We would like to give special thanks to everyone that helped us expose this case.
We hope that this unpleasant incident will serve as an example to anyone who thinks they can get away with violating environmental laws. Over the past few months, HEPCA has been witnessing a disturbing rise of serious environmental violations and cases of unsustainable tourism practices. The severity and frequency of these environmental violations are increasing and have become a major cause for concern.
Reports of illegal fishing practices and the hunting of endangered species like turtles are also on the rise. We are seeing more instances of poaching endangered species, which are ending up in local restaurants, supermarkets, or as décor and souvenirs.
These species are protected because of the fact that they generate a significant amount of money to the economy through tourism revenue. They are also an integral part of the Red Sea’s unique and world-class bio-diversity. The hunting of such animals is not only illegal; it represents the height of irresponsibility. The lack of enforcement as of 2011 is further exacerbating this problem and an intervention is needed immediately.
HEPCA would like to make it clear that we will be taking environmental violations very seriously from now on. We will be working actively on exposing this sort of illegal activity, as well as initiating training and education to help raise awareness about the seriousness of the matter.
We will be keeping you posted with these plans and look forward to your support and commitment towards the preservation and sustainable use of our precious Red Sea.