Sharks and Rays

  • One of the most outstanding features of northern/central Sudanese waters are the extremely healthy populations of globally threatened sharks and rays. Regionally important populations are known to occupy the waters off the coast of Sudan, and are a very important attraction for the diving tourism.
  • Of particular importance, scalloped hammerhead sharks form large schools on all offshore reefs along the north/central region in winter (Sanganeb Atoll and especially Sha’ab Rumi are sites where this species is very abundant). The occurrence of such large schools of this species is globally unique given their highly threatened status and massive population declines (>90%) reported at other global locations due to over fishing. In the winter months, from December to May, hammerhead sharks tend to form large schools at the south-west and north-east points of the offshore reefs. These may be observed at shallower depths around 20m in the early morning (before 09:00) and in the evening immediately prior to sunset. At other times they remain in deeper water, at around 70-90m. The reliable presence of sharks and other large pelagic fish contributes strongly to the value of SMNP and Sha’ab Rumi as a diving destination.
  • Sha’ab Rumi and to a lesser extent SMNP are also famous for a high abundance of grey reef sharks off their southern plateau, many of which are pregnant females.
  • There are also occurrences of blacktip (Carcharhinus melanopterus), whitetip reef (Triaenodon obesus), silky (Carcahrhinus falciformis), thresher (Alopias spp.), shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) silvertip (Carcharhinus albimarginatus), tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier) and whale sharks and manta rays, indicating these sites support a diverse range of elasmobranch fauna in the region.
  • The diversity and abundance of Sha’ab Rumi and SMNP sharks and rays fauna is unique given concerns over their population status elsewhere in the Red Sea.
  • Source : Cousteau 2013, Hussey et al. 2013 ; Kessel and Hussey 2011 ; Baum et al. 2003 ; Vine & Vine, 1980; Hussey et al. 2013 ; Spaet et al. 2015