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1 . Egypt     Egypt
Egypt’s extensive coastline incorporates a significant proportion and a considerable range of the coral reefs found in the Red Sea, including a small number of reefs and islands lying in deep water at some distance from the continental shelf. Human activities along this coastline are highly varied, and include areas of quite intensive use and considerable reef degradation, but also areas which remain relatively remote and inaccessible, and which are largely unimpacted by humans.

Marine fishing is not a major industry in Egypt. There is a small amount of commercial fishing in the southern reef areas, and heavy trawling activity was reported in the Gulf of Suez in the late 1990s. However, many reefs are only lightly fished. In contrast, pollution from shipping and oil spillage are a significant threat, notably along the coastline of the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. Ship groundings have also been a problem, causing direct physical destruction to some reefs, and raising concerns about the potential economic repercussions arising from any damage to the major tourist beaches and dive sites. The Suez Canal also provides an additional threat. The canal itself was first opened in 1869 and provides a direct sea-level connection between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Such a connection allows species to move between these two seas and to invade areas where they have not previously been recorded (although in fact conditions in the canal are very harsh and highly saline, making the transfer more difficult). Thus far there has been a quite considerable flow of species from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean, but relatively few have made the reverse journey and their impacts on reefs are insignificant.

A very substantial proportion of Egypt’s coral reefs are protected, including all those in the Gulf of Aqaba and all the fringing reefs around islands in the Red Sea itself. There are 22 islands covered by this legislation, including the important and remote offshore islands of the Brothers (El Akhawein), Daedalus (Abu El Kizan), Zabargad and Rocky. The reefs of the Sinai Peninsula have undergone active management since the early 1990s. Mooring buoys have been installed and restrictions are enforced at the sites. A user fee system, (US$5 per day in 2000) helps to support these activities. The significant value of reefs in the national economy has led to the recognition and establishment of a fine system for damage to the reef substrate (from ship groundings and other activities). This has been calculated at US$300 per square meter for each year until estimated recovery (up to 100 years if large, slow-growing Porites colonies are damaged).
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

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