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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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