Illegal Activities Stopped

Copyright A.Abdulla/HEPCA

During the course of The Red Sea Dolphin Project, while navigating on transect, the research team and crew on board the Red Sea Defender managed to spot things other than dolphins and just as important. At several points during the 20-day research expedition of June 2010, the team came across a number of illegal fishing activities. Two Yemeni boats were spotted and reported during the first 10 days fishing sharks, turtles and other creatures from the southern region of the Egyptian Red Sea. Within a day after their presence was reported, the fishermen were arrested, and the ships’ destructive activities were stopped. Three more boats were also spotted and stopped during the second half of the expedition. Not only this, but the Red Sea Defender also came across a large fishing net fixed on a reef in Sirnaka, and the entire crew and research team jumped into the water to remove it and free any captive animals. Sudanese fishermen were also seen walking on a reef collecting large Red Sea Top Shell snails…

Yemeni and Sudanese boats can be recognized by the shape of the hull which is different from Egyptian boats. An Egyptian boat has a tapering bow that slants forward over the water and a straight rear that does not slant but goes straight and perpendicular to the water. In contrast, the rears of Sudanese and Yemeni boats are not straight but also slant outwards like the bows. The difference between the rear and bow of a non-Egyptian boat is that the rear of the boat has a flat top.

It is truly a bonus that while carrying out research, the Red Sea Defender can spot and remove serious dangers to the Red Sea. But the Red Sea Defender alone cannot do much. Conserving the natural resources of the Red Sea cannot be done without the involvement of the entire community. If all safari boats and other boats keep a watchful eye on the sea and actively report anything suspicious, perhaps together we can protect it and conserve its natural treasures…

Maha Khalil (HEPCA intern)

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