Why Was Dangerous Shark Beach Reopened?

Authorities accused of ignoring warnings they caught the wrong shark
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2010 8:34 AM CST
Why Was Dangerous Shark Beach Reopened?
Tourists sunbathe by the sea next to a red flag indicating swimming is prohibited, at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/Hussein Talal)

Critics claim Egyptian authorities were warned that they may have caught the wrong shark after four people were attacked last week—but they reopened the beach anyway, only to see a tourist killed yesterday. The 70-year-old German woman was killed while snorkeling just one day after the waters at Sharm el-Sheik were reopened to swimmers, because authorities believed they had captured the two sharks responsible for injuring four tourists Tuesday and Wednesday.

But a local conservation group thought at least one of those was the wrong shark, after comparing it to photos a diver took of the shark responsible for the second attack, the Telegraph reports. Officials are baffled as to the newly aggressive nature of the sharks; just one tourist at the popular resort has been killed by a shark previously. “We are getting marine biologists from abroad to assess the situation and why there was this change in biological nature," says the tourism minister. Among the current theories: That overfishing is pushing sharks closer to shore in search of food, or that tour guides are luring sharks by tossing offal into the sea.
(More Sharm el-Sheik stories.)

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