The Red Sea is blessed with a unique ecosystem. It is home to 1,248 identified species of fish, out of which more than 200 are endemic and 250 species of coral, out of which around 20 can only be found in the Red Sea. The sea that divides the African from the Asian continent is one of the few places in the world, where you can dive with hammerhead sharks, thresher sharks and oceanic white tip sharks on one and the same dive. Some of the most exciting underwater encounters imaginable can also take place in the Red Sea: dolphins, whale sharks, mantas and dugongs are often present here even if you need a fair portion of luck and a great deal of patience to find them.
But it is also a sea in deep trouble. Today thousands of divers and snorkelers come from all over the world to explore the Red Sea. The stress it is exposed to increases on a daily basis. This situation called for rules that have been implemented to protect the marine life.
· Do not throw anything in the water!
· Do not anchor, use moorings!
· Do not feed any marine world inhabitants!
· Do not spearfish!
· Do not collect anything underwater!
· Do not touch anything underwater!
Unfortunately, many boat operators and individuals still do not follow the regulations implemented to protect the sea. Anchors are still being thrown out on the reefs, trawlers pass by on a regular basis and protected areas like offshore islands are being used to fish and sunbath. There is a clear lack of enforcement when it comes to making sure that the rules are being followed.
If we want the Red Sea to have a chance of a survival, this inappropriate behavior needs to change immediately. Overfishing is already an issue that affects our waters to a large extent. Corals are breaking due to irresponsible behavior of snorkelers and divers. More and more seabirds, turtles and marine mammals die because of ingested plastic that was thrown overboard.
For this reason HEPCA patrols the Red Sea and fight illegal activities.