Our History


Hepca

Hepca History

During the 1980s, diving in the Red Sea was in its formative years and our founding members were the first generation to discover this unparalleled underwater eco-system. It was this more than anything that endowed our community with a strong sense of stewardship over this natural environment. These natural resources soon became the lynchpin of a community alliance, based on preserving one of the world’s most important repositories of marine biodiversity.

Among a series of mounting environmental threats, it soon became apparent that the diving community had to form into a visible association to represent the industry and prioritize environmental conservation.

In 1992, a meeting between twelve members representing the diving community proposed a permanent mooring buoy system, which had proven to significantly reduce reef damage and eliminate the need for anchoring on the reef. The meeting resulted in the designing and installing of approximately 100 mooring buoys, which inaugurated HEPCA’s inception as an Egyptian NGO.

What started as a small community initiative to establish mooring points to protect the reefs, has now evolved into a leading and internationally recognized NGO. Our local mooring project has evolved into the largest mooring system in the world with over 1000 moorings installed and maintained throughout Hurghada, Safaga and the southern Red Sea and adopted by our neighboring countries.

Although our scope of operations now encompasses a wide range of local and international initiatives and projects, we have not diverted from our original objectives of protecting and conserving the terrestrial and marine ecology of the Red Sea.

HEPCA was born from the passion of a few of individuals to protect an eco-system of magical beauty. As our movement and campaign continues to grow, we hope that our model can inspire global citizens to strengthen their own communities and become that positive change that is so desperately needed in our world.

1992

The Founding of HEPCA

From an innate care and concern for the Red Sea, a select few of the diving community initiated the installation of 50 buoys to protect the vulnerable coral reefs from anchoring. This led to the establishment of an environmental NGO known as HEPCA.


2001

Samadai Initiative

HEPCA was highly instrumental in establishing the Samadai Reef, a coral reef sanctuary for the Spinner Dolphins, as a marine protected area.


2004

Fight for Giftun

HEPCA and the community outraged over the pending sale of a Red Sea island that resulted in a monumental protest from both locals and internationals.


2006

Ban on Shark Fishing

With an alarming decrease in sharks and a high value on their meat and fin, a ban was initiated to curtail the decline and bring awareness to protect this species as an essential element of an ecosystem.


2007

Save Our Wrecks

As a popular scuba diving activity, the integrity of the wrecks in the Red Sea and their preservation were in jeopardy. This HEPCA campaign brings awareness to the necessary care for this major dive attraction as well as any negative impact it may have on the sea environment.


2007

Madrasty Initiative

At the heart of HEPCA is the attention for the children of its country. For this reason, HEPCA enthusiastically paired up with VODAFONE in a community project to enhance and upgrade the facilities of select governmental schools in Egypt.


2007

Marsa Alam Solid Waste

HEPCA takes over the management of the solid waste collection, disposal, and material segregation in Marsa Alam embarking on its commitment to clean up the Red Sea.


2007

Management Strategy Marsa Abu Dabbab

A conservation initiative to protect the native endangered dugong and turtle population and preserve this precious natural habitat.


2007

Colored Reef Fish Export Ban

HEPCA successfully obtains a new decree from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries which nullifies a previous decree that allowed the fishing and exporting of colored reef fish to Europe and other international markets.


2007

Say No to Oil

The community campaign led by HEPCA bands together to bring attention to the negligence of oil companies drilling in the Red Sea and their lack of due diligence to clean up after an oil spill.


2008

Nuweiba Power Plant

An unrelenting community-wide protest supported by HEPCA against a government approved power plant in south Sinai that threatened the livelihoods of the inhabitants as well as impose severe consequences to the environment.

2009

Plastic Bag Ban

HEPCA along with the Red Sea Governorate launched a tireless yearlong campaign to ban plastic bags and bring awareness of the negative impact on the environment.


2009

Solid Waste Expansion in Marsa Alam

HEPCA expands its operation in solid waste management with a material recovery facility.


2009

Save Hebat Allah

An intervention was organized to monitor the research project of an artificial substratum, the only one of its kind in the Red Sea, led by HEPCA and other dive organizations.


2009

Hurghada Declaration

An initiative by significant stakeholders led to a signed document known as the Hurghada Declaration to uphold sustainable fishing practices against the dwindling fish stock.


2009

Bleach Watch Egypt

Coral bleaching monitored in a program that HEPCA along with the diving communities initiates together throughout the Red Sea coastal environment.


2010

Coastal Survey Project

The CSP project acts as the first step in conservation which determines the most sensitive habitats and collect data on which resources and their conditions to proceed accordingly in HEPCA's collective efforts toward sustainability.

2010

Hurghada Solid Waste

HEPCA assembles its red clad uniformed workers as it assumes complete responsibility of the solid waste management in Hurghada.


2010

Campaign against Long-Lining

HEPCA led an initiative to cease and bring awareness to the destructive non-selective fishing technique known as long lining.

2010

Campaign against Dolphin Harassment

An awareness program developed that centers on a code of conduct when an encounter with a dolphin in their natural habitat occurs.


2010

Red Sea Dolphin Project

Dolphins is the basis of a research project that focuses on the existing species in the region for knowledge to further efforts in protection and conservation of the Red Sea and its natural resources.


2010

Turtle Watch

With looming coastal development, HEPCA launched an ongoing program to bring attention to the endangered species and what to do if encountered in their natural habitat.


2010

Bedouin Handicraft Centers

HEPCA supports the tradition of the women in the tribal Bedouin communities of the region with branding, marketing, and developing their inherent skill in handicrafts.


2011

HAFAFIT Wells Project

HEPCA's aim in the HAFAFIT Wells Project that built over 25 eco-homes and wells for fresh water pumped by solar energy is to serve the community with basic needs for survival.


2011

Ras Mohamed Off the Hook

This awareness campaign addresses the issue of overfishing at the exquisite underwater site of the national park, Ras Mohamed.

2012

Launch of F.E.E.L.

Future Egyptian Environmental Leaders (FEEL) is an exciting educational initiative designed as an eye opening experience for the youth to learn the importance of environmental conservation.


2013

HEPCA Manages Samadai

With the threat from excessive daily boat trips and the over exceeding boat capacity, HEPCA overtakes the management of Samadai Reef.

2013

Mooring Expansion to Sinai

The mooring system expands to the Sinai region with 70 new moorings in Sharm el Sheikh.

2015

HEPCA Patrols the Sea

HEPCA patrols the water on a daily basis to monitor and report any negative impacts to the sea and its marine life.


2015

Launch of Code Red

2016

The Red Sea Digital interpretive center

A state of the art science facility opens in Port Ghalib to further on-going and new research in areas of preservation and conservation of the Red Sea and its natural resources.


2016

Amr Ali-Red Sea defender boat

HEPCA's Bio-boat, the newest platform to further its conservation efforts through education targeting the children and the youth of the Red Sea region is here. Funded in part by the U.S. Forest Service, is currently being outfitted as a mobile science classroom.


2017

Exploited Species Restoration Program

Through our program on restoration of the exploited marine species, HEPCA scientific team with the support of LIFE Red Sea 2 (Project funded by USAID) succeeded to induce the spawning and raising larvae in two species of Tridacna (T. gigas and T. squamosa), for the first time in the middle east. More than 150,000 juveniles of Tridnca of 1-2cm shell length are available in our hatchery.



The Tridacna & the sea cucumber are among the most extensively exploited invertebrates in the Egyptian Red Sea due to over and bad fishing practicing. The program objectives include:



• Introducing and improving techniques to induce spawning and rearing larvae of the exploited marine species, as the milestone to restore and farm these species.

• Restoring exploited species due to over and bad practicing fishing activities

• Improving livelihood of the local community with emphasis of the fishermen community by creating income alternatives from green farming of the exploited targeted species

• Providing training to raise the capability of the local community to manage and run green farms of the targeted exploited species

For this purpose, HEPCA Education and Training Center was provided with all necessary facilities including: wet laboratory of almost 100m3 volume (spawning and rearing tanks of different sizes, mechanical and biological filters, pumps, algal cultivation room with light and controlled temperature) as well as biological and chemical laboratories.



 


2018

Solid Waste Management Plant Inauguration

HEPCA efforts to sustain the conservation of Red Sea environment was culminated with the inauguration of the recycling plant in Hurghada in an attempt to preserve the Eco system and benefit from managing the Solid Waste of the city that is from 350 – 450 tons a day in the most efficient way.



The Solid Wasdte Management Plant is equipped with the latest and most advanced and machines used in the Netherlands and Germany, with a capacity of processing 400ton solid waste a day to suit the needs of the Red Sea governorate.



The operational process goes through five fazes, it starts with waste weight, then it goes through filtering room to separate organic products, plastic, metal, and paper. After the filtering each pack is condensed, wrapped, and distributed to reproducing factories within Egypt.



HEPCA’s started the first Solid Waste Management in Hurghada on the 10th February 2011. The first phase entails waste collection from the entire city, HEPCA has committed to assume responsibility for waste collection in Hurghada aiming to expand its activities to encompass a comprehensive solid waste management system to be applied in the Red Sea that includes everything from material recovery, to recycling, to proper disposal and potentially the collection of landfill gas and electricity generation.



 


2019

Leading the "No Plastic" campaign in the Red Sea

Due to the significant environmental damages resulting from the expansion of the single use plastic which leads to the killing of hundreds of thousands of mammals, birds, and fish globally and for sure the Red Sea has its own share, HEPCA acted on submitting a proposal to H.E. General Ahmed Abdullah - Governor of Red Sea to ban the single-use of plastic, hence, the decree no. 167 for year 2019 was issued effective June 1st.



The decree is to protect the threatened and endangered species which are severely affected by ingestion, starvation, suffocation, drowning, entanglement and toxicity from plastic remains that affects the human health accordingly.The ban of the single-use of plastic bags will apply on any food related outlets within the Red Sea like Restaurants, Coffee shops, Supermarkets, Groceries, Butchers, Fisheries, Fruits and Vegetables shops and Pharmacies, and will also ban single-use plastic cutleries used in food and beverage in Restaurants & Coffee shops as well as Safari and daily boats such as knives, plugs, plastic hooks, cups and dishes except for the usage of the heavy duty garbage bags.

In addition to the above, the Red Sea governorate will not give authorization for plants to produce plastic bags within the city.

HEPCA launched an awareness campaign about the negative impact of plastic on marine life and human health, in addition to on ground activation with events, giving lectures/workshops for public and private schools, clean-up campaigns for islands, beaches and underwater in collaboration with schools, diving centers, and the red sea community.

Our campaign also targeted hotels and resorts in the region to support and encourage reduction of plastic usage in those facilities. In collaboration with Red Sea Hotels, Grand Siva hotel has been certified by HEPCA as the first hotel in Hurghada to apply this strategy in 2018. Our aim is to spread it all over the Red Sea.


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