Early in May the governor of South Sinai in the Red Sea issued a decree that allowed fishing in the formerly protected Ras Mohammed National Park.
This decree was not only illegal it also violated the sanctity of environmental regulations. The decision spelled potential disaster for the park both ecologically and economically and sparked a huge outcry not only among the Red Sea community but worldwide.
Ras Mohammed is known for its rich and abundant marine life. It boasts masses of reef fish, colourful and diverse corals, spectacular sea walls and a vast array of pelagic fish all of which provide excellent Red Sea scuba diving opportunities on the Sinai Peninsula. Divers can expect encounters with schools of hammerhead sharks, barracuda, giant tuna, snappers and batfish, as well as sting rays, scorpionfish and moray eels.
So it is not difficult to understand that allowing unregulated fishing activities in the park would have a strong negative impact on the senstive ecosystem and adversely affect the local economy.
HEPCA along with other members of the Red Sea community united together and leapt into action to lobby against the governor’s decree. They placed a tremendous amount of pressure on the local and national government and mobilised thousands of campaigners through various media outlets. This culminated in a direct confrontation between HEPCA’s managing director Amr Ali and the governor of South Sinai General Shosha on the 18th of May, on the famous ‘On TV’ talk show ‘Baladna Bel Masry’.
It was relief all round the following morning of the 19th of May, when the governor revoked his decree and Ras Mohammed became a de facto no-take zone once again.
Ras Mohammed National park was born in 1983 when the Egyptian government declared 97 km² a protected area. The park has since grown to 480 km² and is protected by rangers who patrol the grounds and surrounding seas. Diving is popular here but regulated and only allowed in designated areas during the day time.
We are grateful to HEPCA and everyone who was involved in or supported the campaign to restore the National Park of Ras Mohammed to its rightful status as a marine protected area.
Would you like to experience Ras Mohammed diving and discover its underwater delights? Contact Dive The World to find out more about our Sinai liveaboards. You can send us an email or call us on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794.