Effects of circulating pictures of catching mermaid fish, the ire of those interested in the environment, headed by the Minister of Environment, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, who announced that the hunter had been identified and arrested by the security authorities, especially after submitting reports from many of those interested in the environment and biological diversity in the incident.
This fisherman did not know that by doing this, he would spark widespread anger in Egyptian circles.
Social media users launched a fierce attack on a person who hunted the endangered mermaid, after a picture was published of him proving what he had done.
And the accused appeared driving a small fishing boat, “felucca”, and next to him was the marine dogong called “the mermaid”, without any indication of the place or time of the incident.
Angry comments poured in on the photo, and it was widely circulated, amid calls for the fisherman to be punished for what he did.
In one of the comments on Facebook, he said: “The Mermaid, or the Dogong, is found in the Red Sea, especially in the south near Marsa Alam. People come from literally all over the world to watch it and enjoy it from afar. I mean, this fisherman not only kills marine life.” This also hits tourism and cuts off people’s livelihood.”
There were also comments attacking the fisherman, accusing him of causing an “environmental disaster,” which prompted the latter to break his silence.
The fisherman said, through a short video clip he posted on Facebook: “As for the fish…we do not know anything about it. It came with us. I spent my whole life in the sea and it was the first time I saw it. We took it out on the boat, walked it and threw it sober.”
After this uproar, the Ministry of Environment intervened to investigate the incident, and announced on its official page the arrest of the fisherman.
The Minister of Environment thanked the workers in the Red Sea reserves and all the security authorities for their efforts to find the owner of the incident.
The ministry stressed the need for fishermen to fully comply with the environmental law and the decisions regulating hunting in order to protect them from being subjected to legal accountability.
on the red list
The dugong’s presence and numbers in Marsa Alam and the Wadi El-Gemal Reserve were estimated at about 32 individuals through introducing underwater photography.
A recent study is currently being published, estimating their numbers on the entire western coast of the Egyptian Red Sea, with a minimum number of 82 to 98 individuals, through many studies and results from photography, the food environment, and questionnaires.
Where it is located on the western coast of the Egyptian Red Sea:
About 95 sites for the presence of mermaids were identified, starting from the north of Hurghada to Halayeb in the south, and the numbers of the distribution of individuals were determined in these sites, and the majority are single, then one pair, then three individuals, while about 3 observations in Abu Ramad and Halayeb in numbers 4-8, 12-20 individuals In the herd, many of these areas were identified outside the borders of the three declared natural reserves in the Red Sea, such as the coastal region of Safaga, Al-Qusayr, Marsa Alam, then south of Ras Banas, then in front of the Elba Nature Reserve inside the sea, especially in front of Abu Ramad and Halayeb.
It is noteworthy that the Dugong is considered the most endangered marine mammal, and it has been included in the Red List of the most endangered creatures.
Dugongs are one of the most important tourist attractions for the Marsa Alam region, which mainly depends on the factors of excellence in biodiversity and the unique nature of its coasts, and all environmental organizations work to raise awareness of its preservation, and not to expose it to human pressure or poaching.
It is known as the dugong, sea cow, or dogong, and it is a large marine mammal, ranging in length from 2.50 to 3 meters, and its body tapers at a forked and horizontally flattened tail.
It has two arms in the form of two rounded fins, and it uses its large muscular lips to tear marine marine grasses, as its strong molars and hard treadmills in the front of its jaws grind food, and the male has two small incisors that resemble tusks, and they usually travel in pairs or small groups.
After a pregnancy that lasts 13 to 14 months, the female usually gives birth to one baby in the water, and dugong animals represent one of the most important tourist attractions for the Marsa Alam region, which mainly depends on the factors of distinction in biological diversity and the unique nature of its coasts. Exposure to human pressure or poaching.
Despite the strict laws for hunting them, they are subject to overfishing in search of meat and oils, especially since they live in shallow waters, i.e. near human activity.
Hunting the mermaid is legally criminal, as the penalty amounts to imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 pounds, noting that the mermaid is present in only about 48 countries around the world, which makes Egyptian beaches distinctive and attractive for tourists to enjoy watching one of the world’s marine mammals.
Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, announced the success of the Red Sea Reserves work team, in cooperation with the security authorities, in finding the owner of the photos circulated on social media of the incident of hunting the marine dogong, “The Mermaid”, and he was arrested by the security authorities, indicating that a timing is being determined. The incident and its place to take legal action regarding the violation and to write a report of the incident.
For his part, Dr. Ahmed Shawky, a marine biologist expert in the environments and behaviors of the mermaid in the southern Red Sea, confirmed that the mermaid is the only marine mammal that feeds on seaweed, and its presence is linked to these environments, which are spread along the shallow coasts, especially in the southern Red Sea, and that the mermaid is considered One of the species threatened with extinction, in light of the slow reproductive rate that reaches one time from 5 to 7 years, and its age reaches 70 years.
Shawky added, through a full report he published on his Facebook page, that the dugong known as the mermaid or sea cow has many names, as its common name in the north of the Egyptian Red Sea is the mermaid of the sea, while in the south it has many names such as: Leather because its skin is thick, calf (small sea cow), and camel because its meat tastes like camel meat.
Environmental experts presented a number of proposals to preserve Egyptian mermaids:
First: From the political and administrative point of view: including all seagrass areas and the presence of mermaids within the borders of the Red Sea reserves by amending the borders to include those areas each in the closest reserve of the three declared reserves. Example: The areas of the coast of Hurghada and Safaga to Al-Qusayr are within the boundaries of the northern islands reserves, and the coast of Marsa Alam is within the borders of the Wadi El-Gemal Reserve, while south of Ras Banas and the rest of the areas are within the borders of the Elba Nature Reserve. Reconsidering the management plan for some important areas of the Mermaid environments in Marsa Alam, especially in Marsa Mubarak, Marsa Shawni, Marsa Abu Dabab, and Marsa Hormuz, through the dimensions of any final effect of the presence of boats and speedboats in those areas, and working to determine the capacity for visitors.
Second: In terms of research: Expansion of marine surveys and environmental monitoring programs in all areas known for the presence of mermaids, whether close to tourism activities or in remote areas.
Third: Activating the environmental awareness program and involving many volunteers along the coast by training and qualifying them to join the Egyptian mermaid national team, with the establishment of special awareness programs for fishermen.
According to the Environment Law, it is prohibited to catch, collect, transport, or possess fry of fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals from the sea, lakes, or other water bodies, or to tamper with their whereabouts and breeding, as the case may be, along the Egyptian shores or in marine waters, except with a permit from the agency, and the regulations specify Executive controls, conditions and procedures for granting the permit.
As for the penalty for violating the environment law and catching prohibited fish, whoever violates the provisions of this law shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than one year and no more than three years, and a fine of no less than ten thousand pounds and no more than fifty thousand pounds, or one of these two penalties. In the case of recidivism, the penalty will be doubled.
It is worth noting that the Ministry of Environment noted the need to implement the Environment Law and the Ministry’s decisions regarding fishing operations, while organizing awareness campaigns to introduce the recommendations issued by the Ministry of Environment, which describe fishing violations, especially those that depend on the use of tools and equipment that cause dredging of marine life.
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