The shark attacks on tourists at the Red Sea has resulted in a 20% drop in tourism in an area that relies on tourism.
Personal tragedies include the dead and injured, and their families of course. But also those whose jobs and livelihoods are in the tourism sector – there are other places to dive and snorkel without risking the attentions of sharks, and people have long memories.
But its not just humans who are affected, the sharks also. There are no winners from these attacks.
It was in relief therefore that I read Hazem Zohny humorous article in the Egyptian local daily paper Ahramonline last Sunday. In ”Egyptian media bites back at shark” he poked fun at chat show hosts personalising the incident “as though it had the option of munching on some yellowfin tuna somewhere in the deep but opted for helpless homo sapiens instead”.
Sci-fi aficionados also came within Zohny’s sights with the theory that a mutated heir of Jaws is back. The cold fact that “nuclear radiation leaks kill creatures rather than excite them” contributed by the head of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority is unlikely to sway them..
Finally of course came the hilarious accusation from conspiracy theorists that the Israelis had set up the shark. “Too ludicrous,” sniffed the Israeli.
Seriously though, the longest-term consequence, which will perhaps cause few people to pause for thought, is the adverse reaction to sharks themselves. Sharks are in more danger from humans than vice versa, and the result must be increased needless killing of sharks.
Contrary to popular belief, shark attacks are extremely rare in the world and almost unknown in the Red Sea previously.