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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Update: Shark Experts at work in Sharm

Diving is still allowed in the following areas. Tiran, Ras Mohamed, Becon Rock (Dunraven) Thistlegorm, Dahab.

Three world renowned shark experts have arrived in Sharm el Sheikh and are currently working with the CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Water Sports). These experts are: Dr Marie Levine, head of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton, USA; 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; 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.
They have already begun to work together to analyse all the data collected. Further updates on the situation will be provided as soon as available.

CDWS would like to assure all members that the organisation is working continuously with all the relevant authorities and shark experts to try to resolve this situation in the most appropriate and safe way for all concerned. The CDWS also stresses to all members and the public that it does not in any way condone the random killing of sharks.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Erich K. Ritter
Erich Ritter has a Ph.D. from Zurich University in “Behavioral Ecology” and is the only professional shark-human interaction specialist. He did his post-doc at the University of Miami's Rosenschiel School. He taught field courses for students, naturalists and divers in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Maldives, Egypt, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa and Hawaii. He conducts his field research primarily in the Northern Abacos, Bahamas at the "Shark Education & Research Center" (SERC).
Ritter is the head of the SharkSchool™, an organization that teaches divers, snorkelers, rescue swimmers and others how to interact with sharks, what to look for when entering the water and most importantly how to feel safe among sharks. He functions as a case investigator of the Shark Research Institute's GSAF (Global Shark Attack File). He is also the chairman of SAVN™, the Shark Accident Victim Network, and non-for-profit organization to help shark victims. He has given lectures worldwide and was guest on many different TV shows, including a quick appearance in the movie SharkWater (
Ritter's main expertise is the body language of sharks, with a major interest in shark accidents and their causes. Many of the old theories of why sharks bite have been erased through his experiments, and new ideas proposed. He is the only shark expert to recreate many of the typical accident scenarios with the respective species. His understanding of potential reasons for shark accidents opened new doors in this field of research.
Ritter is considered the top authority and pioneer in shark-human interaction. He developed the first concept (ADORE-SANE) for swimmers, divers and snorkelers that allows safe interacting with any shark species under different conditions. He has spent the last twelve years collecting data from different shark species around the world. Besides some reef species, his primary focus is on bull sharks, lemon sharks and white sharks.
"... there is no such thing as dangerous sharks, only dangerous situations. This fact must be made public... for the sake of the animals and our children... once mankind can get rid of its fear from sharks, then sharks can be protected... the over fishing and slaughtering of sharks is one of the biggest ecological time bombs of our time and the consequences will have a devastating effect - not just for nature but mankind as well... the conscious interaction with sharks is an important tool for their better understanding..." Erich Ritter

George Burgess
Director, Florida Program for Shark Research
M.S. University of Florida, 1978
FLMH Shark Research

Research Interests
Life history, ecology, systematics, fishery management and conservation of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays); shark attack; systematics and biogeography of fishes; management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems and their faunas and floras, especially the marine environment.

Ongoing Fieldwork
• Survey of the marine ichthyofauna of southwestern Florida, particularly the Florida Keys and Straits of Florida
• Movements of reef-dwelling elasmobranchs through reef passages in Belize
• Life history of western Atlantic elasmobranchs
• Management of western Atlantic elasmobranch populations
• Systematics of squaloid sharks
• Conservation of elasmobranchs internationally
• Maintenance, growth and analyses of the International Shark Attack File

Outreach Projects
• Project Shark Awareness, a program aimed at teaching educators about elasmobranch life history/ecology and the fishery management/conservation needs of the group, so that they can pass on the messages to their students
• Development and maintenance of a world-class web site focusing on the biology, management and conservation of fishes and elasmobranchs
• Work with IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group (as Vice Chair), promoting sustainable fisheries and conservation of the world's elasmobranchs

Courses Taught
• Ichthyology (co-taught) - Fall
• Marine Biology (section) - Summer

Graduate Students
Felipe Carvalho, M.S. Candidate (Fisheries)
• Life history of the mako shark in Brazilian waters
Tobey Curtis, M.S. Candidate (Fisheries)
• Movements and migrations of elasmobranchs
Alexia Morgan, Ph.D. Candidate (Fisheries)
• Population dynamics and fishery management of elasmobranchs
Andrew Piercy, Ph.D. Candidate (Fisheries)
• Age/growth and reproductive biology of elasmobranchs

Ralph S. Collier, Consultant
Ralph S. Collier is founder and president of the Shark Research Committee, a 501 c-3 non-profit scientific research corporation formed in 1963. Ralph was involved in a cooperative study of Pacific coast shark attacks with Dan S. Miller, Senior Research Biologist at California Department of Fish and Game (1970-1981). Mr. Collier was also the first researcher to describe in literature the “oddity” of a white shark rolling its eyes during a predatory attack (1981) and the significance of white shark attack “recurring locations” (1991). As a media consultant, he has appeared in more than two dozen Discovery Channel, National Geographic and independent production documentaries about sharks and their behavior. Mr. Collier is a valued consultant to Sharkstopper, LLC. His recent work with the Sharkstopper team was in 2006. The fall of that year brought him and the Sharkstopper team to the Isle of Guadalupe, Mexico to study Sharkstopper’s patented acoustic technologies effect on the Great White Shark.

Marie Levine is Founder and Executive Director of SRI. Under her stewardship the organization expanded its membership to more than 8,000, and has research / conservation projects in Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Mexico, Mozambique, The Philippines, Seychelles, South Africa, Taiwan, Tanzania, the UK and the USA. In addition to articles in scientific journals and chapters in books, she authored two childrens’ books on sharks: Sharks: Q&A (New Holland), and Great White Sharks (Weigl, reprinted by Raintree Steck-Vaughn). An avid diver, she has worked and dived with sharks in 43 countries. As a Fellow of the famed Explorers Club, she has led 5 Flag Expeditions, and in 2001 was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame and subsequently served on its Board of Directors.

The team will not be releasing any information until they have gathered all the facts and have made some studies themselves. As soon as we more information we will post it here and on our facebook page.


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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

No Ban on Diving for Experienced Divers

Due to the unfortunate attacks by sharks or a shark on swimmers in a localised area of Sharm El Sheikh, the local authority has banned water sports including, swimming, snorkelling and training dives.

However, as the shark/s are staying away from the divers, diving is allowed in the Ras Mohamed and Tiran areas. The divers need to be experienced (50 logged dives min).
Safari boats are also still working.

We will try and keep the information current. Look on our face book account “elite diving” or on our Red Sea Blogs on

This information was correct at 10.00am (Egypt Time) 7th December 2010.

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Friday, 3 December 2010

Shark Attack Update and Photos of Sharks caught

The press has reported that two sharks were caught yesterday, one a Mako and the other an Oceanic White tip. They are not sure if any of the sharks were responsible for the attacks. Today a few groups of guides and instructors dived on different sites to try and take pictures of any shark. Our Mr Alun volunteerd and was allocated Ras Bob to Ras Nazrani. This is where the attacks occured. How easy do you think that would be!!! We can't often find them for our divers. There were no sightings, but in Ras Mohamed where the tourist divers and snorkel boats could go, they saw two Oceanics on different sites. Apparently the snorkelers swam on top of the reef in fear ;-)
We were sceptical that it was a Mako that had been caught the day before but photographic evidence shows it was. The man holding the sharks mouth open was on our boat with Alun today and was a witness to one of the shark attacks.


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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Shark Attack in Ras Nazrani Sharm El Sheikh

Shark Attacks in Ras Nazrani, Sharm El Sheikh, have given the public the wrong impression and undeserved bad press for the Oceanic.

The Oceanic White tip above, was photographed just under the ladder of the boat while moored on Jackson reef in 2005.

This one above was photographed August 2009 at Ras Um Sid. These sharks are known for their inquisitiveness. This one came within three meters of us to investigate, but with no sign of food, it lost interest.

The above photo was taken by Duncan Spencerley only yesterday. He has kindly given us his permission to use it. It was taken at Beacon Rock, the site of Dunraven. This Oceanic was photographed at around the same time as the attacks occured but over 20 miles away, so it wasn't the same shark. This shark is around 2.5 meters long, and again showed no aggression towards the divers.

We are seeing an increased amount of non divers feeding the small fish near their hotel jetties, and also witnessing security or hotel staff line fishing, pulling small fish out of the sea. The small fish go into a feeding frenzy, and most divers who follow National Geografic or Discovery Channel will know that sharks are attracted by electirc impulses, and the food frenzy hightens these impulses, informing the shark that there is food on offer.

As a shark aproaches the frenzy, it too goes into one, and will bite at almost anything. The simple asnwer is stop the feeding of the fish by the unlearned and no more attacks will happen. There's no point in killing a shark if we don't educate people that feeding fish is not only bad for the enviroment but dangerous to the public also.
It has now been stated in the press that an Oceanic has been caught in the area of the attack. One paper claims it is being stuffed and put in Ras Mohamed museum. This shark is also a victim and should still be roaming the seas. It has done nothing wrong apart from acting as nature intended, the problem is that it was human induced.
We are going to start a petition to hand to the local authoroties to get the Hotels to police their beaches strongly and educate their clients in marine enviromental protection.

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