Dolphins in Red Sea tormented by tourists!

by   Profile Herbert   When 7th December 2017
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Dolphins in the Red Sea (c) Andreas Wackenrohr
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Dolphins in the Red Sea (c) Andreas Wackenrohr
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Dolphins in the Red Sea (c) Andreas Wackenrohr
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Typical "tourist dolphin event"
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Sleeping dolphins - they should not be disturbed.

Tourists should not swim with dolphins

Swimming with dolphins in the Red Sea endangers the survival of these marine mammals, warns the GRD (Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine, also known as the Society for Dolphin Conservation) in Munich. Despite clear regulations, the situation is out of control, especially in the tourist destinations off Hurghada and at the Sataya Reef.

"It is foreseeable that dolphins will be driven out of their habitats here solely because of the unbridled greed of tour operators," said GRD biologist Ulrich Karlowski. The GRD therefore urges all travellers planning a trip to see the dolphins in the Red Sea not to swim with the animals, but to go on Dolphin Watch tours instead.

Dolphins are hunted, circled, injured by boat propellers

It is quite common that 30 or more tourist boats are in the water with the dolphins at the same time, during a time when the dolphins, returning from their nocturnal hunt, retire to shallow areas and half-lagoons  to rest and sleep. The boats and accompanying zodiacs circle the animals. The dolphins are harassed underwater during their sleep phase by dive guides and followed and touched by countless hooting tourists in the water.

The consequences are dramatic. The dolphins neglect their calves, barely have the opportunity to rest and they waste valuable energy and time trying to flee from the boats. They become increasingly exhausted, restless and are under tremendous stress. Propellers from the zodiacs may even cut into their backs. "These excursions have nothing in common with sustainable, nature-friendly tourism or nature tourism," said Karlowski.

FTI Touristik and DER Touristik are responsible and set a good example

Responsible organisations such as FTI Touristik and DER Touristik set a good example. They do not offer their clients the opportunity to swim with dolphins at Hurghada. "Companies such as TUI and Thomas Cook, though, are clad in pretty sustainability strategies and proclaim their high environmental responsibility. But when it comes to the preservation, the concrete protection of animals from suffering and harm, it turns out that the corporations are only concerned  about their good  and their profits and not sustainable action," emphasised Karlowski.

First time in Egypt: Regulations for sustainable and animal-friendly dolphin-human encounters

Last year, within the context of the GRD-supported project "Dolphin Conservation in the Red Sea", regulations for sustainable and animal-friendly dolphin-human encounters were introduced in Egypt for the first time. In addition to a "Code of Conduct" that is binding for all providers, protection and rest zones were set up and marked with buoys, while workshops and training for skippers and providers were organised, and regular monitoring were carried out by rangers from the National Park. Unfortunately, these measures fail because of the non-implementation and the completely unreasonable behaviour of the tour operators.

The GRD has called on TUI and Thomas Cook to cease the sale of dolphin excursions to their customers as well as to push for an end to the harassment of dolphins in the name of an alleged "nature experience".

Written by
Profile Herbert
When 7th December 2017
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Marie McGowan-Griffin on Jan 09th 2024
Well done you for highlighting the sad situation that these trips are causing. Trips should be providing information about the animals themselves and how to respect them in their habitat to people who know nothing when they get onboard. I went on one such trip and I was horrified at the disrespect shown to the sea wildlife when we were in the water. They were feeding to draw fish, touching the eels I told the trip guide I was unhappy. I hope you are a champion for more environmentally friendly trips.
ปั้มไลค์ on Jul 06th 2020
Like!! Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing.
Alessandra Sicilia on Feb 13th 2018
there is a lot of diving centre in Hrghada, Gona and Marsa that work on this sustainability, and mention only 2 Tour operator is really limited and do not show the efforts that every day the staff of the diving centres face, specially against tour operators that offer snorkeling excrsions WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL GUIDE, WITHOUT DECENT BRIEFING AND CODE OF CONDUCT INEXISTENT.

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