Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

Blacktip reef sharks spotted swimming close to shore in RAK marina

The species do not pose any danger to humans

A school of blacktip reef sharks visited Ras Al Khaimah shores on Wednesday.

Around 11 sharks, easily recognised by the black tips on their fins, were spotted swimming in Mina Al Arab marina at 9.30am by Shukran Yasin.

The 33-year-old Syrian radio show presenter said she immediately recorded the sharks on her phone.

“I was walking along the beach when I saw sharks black fins appearing above the water,” said Ms Yasin, who is a resident of Mina Al Arab.

“It was the first time I have ever seen a shark in my life, and to see 11 was way too much for me.

“But surprisingly I was not scared at all, they are beautiful creatures, and I enjoyed it very much,” she said.

Divers all over the world encounter these sharks often and have no problems swimming alongside them

Natalie Banks

Ms Yasin said the sharks kept swimming in the area until 12.30pm.

"Some were swimming very close to the beach but they were fast and afraid of any movement," she said.

Blacktip reef sharks are some of the most abundant ones in the Arabian Gulf and they prefer shallow, inshore waters. They are 1.6 metre long.

They feed on small fish, like mullet, groupers and surgeonfish, and sometimes smaller sharks and rays.

“Divers all over the world encounter these sharks often and have no problems swimming alongside them,” said Natalie Banks, a marine conservationist based in Abu Dhabi.

“They are however quite shy, and will avoid people if they can,” she said.

The species are classified as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species as they are regularly caught by inshore fisheries.

They are used for their meat, fins, and liver oil, but are not commercially significant.

Ms Banks said the species usually do not pose any danger to humans, unless being baited by food. They can appear in large numbers when there is a food source.

“These sharks were foraging for food. The behaviour shown illustrates food in the water,” said Ms Banks.

Last month, two sharks, believed to be grey reef sharks, were seen swimming along the breakwater in Ras Al Khaimah.

The sea creatures were recorded by Clare Stewart, who was enjoying the view from her balcony with her husband at Pacific Apartments in Al Marjan Island.

Updated: April 2, 2020 03:33 PM

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