In Hurghada, Egypt, on June 8, 24-year-old Russian Vladimir Popov died after being attacked by a tiger shark. The drama occurred in front of vacationers in the Dream Beach area. Philip Sapozhnikov, senior researcher at the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Biological Sciences, told Russian media about the causes of the incident and ways to protect against underwater predators.
The expert noted that in general, the Red Sea, which washes the Egyptian coast, is a shark-prone area. True, the coast of Hurghada, according to him, poses a lesser threat in this regard, since there sharks are actively exterminated by fishermen who sell the meat of predators to coastal restaurants.
At the beginning of the summer vacation season in many resorts, including Egyptian ones, the number of vacationers increases sharply, whose attention is sought to be attracted by all services and enterprises operating on the coast. Tourists, in particular, are invited on diving and gastronomic excursions that take place on ships, where people eat fish and meat, drink wine and enjoy beautiful views, the oceanologist noted. One of the factors that influenced the fact that sharks have recently started attacking people more often is the unconscious feeding of these predatory fish.
“On food tours, unlucky cooks cut meat, fish on the ship and the remains – fins, intestines, blood, hooves – are thrown overboard, as they are too lazy to bring it all back to shore, l ‘Bury somewhere in a special way, all the more dispose’, explained the expert.
Another reason for the aggressive behavior of sharks is the routes of cattle ships crossing the Red Sea, on which there are sheep, cows, goats and pigs. During the summer months, due to the heat, poor diet and lack of water, it is not uncommon for animals to die and their carcasses to be thrown overboard.
“These cattle trucks are followed across the sea by sharks because they have food. The sharks are actively moving along the fairway of the movement of these cattle trucks, then a massive outing into the sea of the gourmet tourist yachts, a massive dumping of guts, blood fins and hooves overboard, and through Consequently, the sharks turn towards the coast, where it also smells of blood. The ship sets off again and leaves a trail of blood in its wake. The sharks come to shore, then they start looking for food near the shore. Any tourist floating on the surface can serve as food,” Sapozhnikov added.
According to the expert, the peculiarity of the tiger shark is that in anticipation of the victim, it likes to ambush “somewhere offshore” in troubled waters. In the tragic case of the Russian Vladimir Popov, “all the conditions were favorable for the ecology of the predator and the danger of sharks in the region, as well as for the continuous violations of the very cooks who, with the blood of kitchens and yachts of gastronomic tour, could attract this shark to this bay”, estimates the oceanologist.
“Muddy water, a shark could easily stand under that same pier, wait for fish or birds to float to the surface to eat it, and then people started swimming, apparently they made extra noise at surface. I want to express my deep sympathy to the relatives of the young man, because what happened to him is terrible. It was not possible to save him, “said the interlocutor of Russian media.
Also, Sapozhnikov gave several recommendations on how to protect yourself from a shark encounter and what to do if it happened.
“Do not swim in muddy water, where something from the kitchen gets into the water and near landfills, especially food. Do not stray far from the shore, do not splash the surface of the water – it attracts the shark to the sound: you describe a wounded bird, or a shot fish, or something else that needs to be eaten, thrown away, because it is sick, weakened and attracts the attention of a predator, ”advises the oceanologist.
Moreover, according to him, all vertebrate creatures have the same smell of fear, which the shark smells very well. Therefore, if a predator is nearby, a person should try not to express fear.
“If you saw a shark just grazing somewhere in space: it lives there, lots of people live there, all kinds of scorpions live on the bottom, crabs that can bite your finger, but you’re not afraid of it . Don’t let the shark start circling around you. Try to swim slowly and calmly. As soon as she starts looking at you, swim away. To attack, a shark must first aim, for this it just starts circling, ”explained Sapozhnikov.
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