Friday, May 10, 2013

HEPCA Names and Shames

I'm so happy to see the power of social media being put to good use in protecting the environment. It seems there have been a rising number of dive guides on facebook posing with sharks, fish, and other marine life on the decks of their dive boats. Unfortunately for them, yet fortunately for the Red Sea environment, behaviour like this is not only completely unaccepted but called out on in public. For any dive guide taking photos with animals that belong in the water, you can almost guarantee their name will make the rounds quite rapidly on facebook, ultimately ending up on HEPCA's name and shame list.

From HEPCA's page, this is an example of the
recent flurry of 'posing' pictures
Taken from HEPCA's site, read on.

Over the past few days, our supporters have been flooding our network with reports and photos of a certain dive guide named Mahamad Shabana. Mr. Shabana came up with the great idea of decorating his face book profile with unsavory photos of himself; one of which depicts him sarcastically biting into the corpse of a dead white tip reef shark.

We just have one question for you Mr. Shabana; what planet are you living on?

Mr. Shabana has single-handedly destroyed his reputation, as well as his possibility of ever working in the Red Sea diving industry again. We're already coordinating with the coast guard and CDWS to make sure that he will be prohibited from working as a dive guide in the Red Sea.

We would like to close off by saying that this whole incident is indicative of a serious and growing problem within our community. It is becoming blatantly apparent that there are still tourism stakeholders that are not carrying out their responsibilities of properly educating their staff on the importance of environmental protection. These same stakeholders are profiting from the Red Sea resources and the least they could do is ensure that their guides are completely aware of the need for protecting the Red Sea.

Month after month we are receiving these troubling reports and we are dismayed that such ignorant activity is still taking place.

The good news is that our community has proven time and time again that we are perfectly capable of dealing with the challenges facing our precious environment. It no longer matters who continues turning a blind-eye towards the destruction and depletion of the majestic Red Sea.

We will not.

We would also like to thank every single person who took the time to report this incident, and a special thanks to Mostafa M. Elabd from blue o two.

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