Shark Project



Ecology and Sustainable Use

With a grant from PADI Project AWARE Europe, a study of human impacts on the presence of sharks and behavior of sharks was carried out from June to November 2008 at these Red Sea diving sites: Elphinstone Reef, Daedalus Reef, Big Brother Is., Small Brother Is., Zabargad Is., Rocky Is., and Habili Ali. A total of 194 hours of field observations were done; sharks were encountered during 110 of 138 dives.




Assess the presence of different species of sharks at different diving sites in the area of Marsa Alam (Elphinstone Reef) and far southern reefs and islands.



Assess the impacts on sharks, fishing and diving activities.



Create public awareness of divers at different diving centers along the Red Sea. Prepare a Code of Conduct for divers encountering sharks.



create a management plan for Elphinstone Reef and the surrounding areas with the view to establishing the first marine park for sharks in the Red Sea.


Eight species of sharks for a total of 292 specimens were recorded: whale shark Rhincodon typus (1 specimen),
pelagic thresher shark Alopias pelagicus (12), silvertip shark Carcharhinus albimarginatus (1), grey reef shark Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos (61), silky shark Carcharhinus falciformis (2), oceanic whitetip shark Carcharhinus longimanus (123), whitetip reef shark Triaenodon obesus (5), scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini (87). The frequency of encounters in Elphinstone Reef is considerably lower than in the other study areas.

Diving Activities

Presence of recreational divers was recorded during almost all the dives: 134 cases on the total of 138 dives, with a presence of a total of 971 boats and 15,601 divers. Both the mean number of divers and the mean number of boats recorded for each dive are higher for Elphinstone Reef than in the other study sites.

Elphinstone Reef

In Elphinstone Reef the high number of boats is also widely distributed for the entire area, making it impossible for the sharks to avoid human presence. The
massive human presence in Elphinstone Reef is negatively affecting the presence of sharks and may also increase the probability of attacks on humans occurring.


The number and conduct of boats of divers and boats frequenting this site need to be regulated by appropriate rules. It is therefore urgently necessary for Elphinstone Reef to be declared a protected area.



The oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) increased from 42% to 46% between 2008 and 2016 respectively. A photo-ID project on the oceanic whitetip shark by SCUBA diving was conducted at Elphinstone and more individuals were recorded. Further study in recent years is required to study the status of the species not only in Elphinstone Reef but also in other sites in the Southern Red Sea Egypt.

Red Sea Sharks


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