From HEPCA: Shabb el Erg and Shabb Fanus will be closed off to the public for a period of 1 month starting from May 15, 2013 until June 15, 2013. All tourism activities to these sites will be banned during this period and a 10,000 L.E. fine will be imposed on anyone that is found violating this legal decree, or engaging in any environmental violations or harassment of marine life.
Shabb el Erg and Shabb Fanus will be re-opened after this period with new policies and regulations that will ensure the safety of visitors and the long term preservation of the sites.
This strict measure is being implemented because of irresponsible activities and behaviors that are taking place there daily. It has come after a serious meeting between HEPCA and the Red Sea Governer on May 11, 2013. The harassment and injury to the dolphins, as well as the unsustainable use of these dolphin-resting habitats is leading to a clear deterioration of these important natural resources. The situation is becoming completely intolerable and represents the height of irresponsibility. We’ve received many reports from concerned citizens about the unbelievable amount of boats there on any given day and the dangerous situation this is creating for people in the water. Boat operators have been witnessed chasing dolphins and crossing each other’s paths dangerously close, while divers and snorkelers are right in the vicinity. The skippers and boat operators that are using these sites are creating a very dangerous situation that could lead to serious human injury or even death.
A committee consisting of HEPCA, the environmental protection affairs agencies, the coast guard, and the navy has been formed on May 11, 2013 because of a serious rise of environmental violations and unsustainable tourism practices. These agencies will begin working together during the next 2-3 months on violation monitoring and patrolling efforts out at sea. This collective effort will be the start of a renewed cooperation between these agencies, as a response to the growing threats facing our environment.
It’s time for us to bring discipline back to the sea and set the precedence that such unsustainable and endangering activities will never be tolerated.
We expect the full cooperation of the public, the tourism sector and especially diving companies and boat operators. We will not be showing any leniency when it comes to the violation of environmental laws. Please be advised of this important news and make sure to relay the information to your tour leaders, guides, boat captains, and guests. We will keep you posted with our plans and thank you in advance for your support and cooperation.