The Future Of Sport Fishing In Egypt & Responsible Fishing Techniques

Without a doubt, fishing is both a sport and a hobby that helps you relax and connect with nature. In light of this, we spoke with three experienced Egyptian fishermen Ahmed Mitkees, Fady El Daba, and Hany Sadek who provided us with their vast knowledge about fishing in Egypt and most importantly responsible fishing so as not to harm marine life.

Fishing Tournament

We first started by talking to Hany Sadek, a professional fisherman and one of the organizers of the first-ever international fishing competition, “Orascom Development International Fishing Tournament.” The competition took place on Feb. 16 between El Gouna & Makadi Bay; according to Sadek the competition featured 14 teams from various nations, including Italy, England, Saudi Arabia, and many others.

Many fishing celebrities, influencers and world-record-breaking anglers were present at the competition with the guests of honor including the heads of the fishing federations in Egypt and Tunisia as well as Massimo Brogna, president of the IGFA for Europe and the Mediterranean, Andries Maree, president of the South African Angling Federation, and Thamer Habis, CEO of the Saudi Arabia Water Sport & Diving Federation.

In Sadek’s opinion, the competition, “made a great impression abroad as it captured people’s attention and should be a start for more fishing events and tournaments here in Egypt” adding that, “this competition will kickstart sport fishing tourism, one of the most lucrative types of tourism for the country.”

“A typical tourist coming particularly for sport fishing would spend an average of at least 5,000 dollars per week,” according to Sadek, “which is more than what a typical tourist would spend on an all-inclusive trip.” With this tournament, Sadek believes that such tournaments can help Egypt to “establish itself as a destination for sport fishing tourism as such tournaments have the ability to captivate international fishermen with a breath-taking environment.

He believes that the biggest message of the tournament was to spread environmental awareness and inspire people to get into the habit of catch & release as well as refrain from fishing endangered species.

Kinds of Fishing

Sadek then discussed the distinctions between fishing and sport fishing—which has a totally different culture than regular fishing, “the culture and values of sport fishing forbid fishermen from killing small-sized species. Killing in the first place is strictly illegal, and because catch and release are one of the most important fishing practices, participants must be conscious of the surrounding species.”

via NPS

Sport fishermen are primarily interested in preserving and raising awareness of the environment as Sadek explained that when someone catches a large fish and releases it right away, they should be greatly pleased with themselves. This is because they employ the lightest equipment to target the biggest fish, he also informed us that many fishermen enjoy the challenge of battling a fish for almost an hour because of their lightweight equipment. To be able to catch the fish with the least amount of equipment necessary, according to Sadek, “you have to be a real professional.”

Types of Fish

We then talked to Mitkees who told us that “Egypt is blessed with the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea with around 250 different corals and around 1200 fish species.” He then said that “each one of them has its own unique wildlife and provides a golden opportunity for people to learn more about them.” For example, Mitkees expressed that “the bluefin tunas can be found in our beloved Mediterranean Sea, and they are considered to be one of the strongest and biggest fish in the world. “

He then said that in the Red Sea, “yellowfins are considered quite popular for fishing.”Mitkees then asserted that there are other common fish like the “Mahi Mahi, amberjacks, kingfish, dogtooth tuna, king mackerel, skipjack, and bonitos that are found in both seas.” We were curious to know if all of these species appear in the same season. Mitkees mentioned that “most of these species appear throughout the year, but each specie has its own season.” For instance, “the Mahi Mahi is highly fishable from Jan. to Feb. and July and its low season is from April to May, Sept., and Dec.” As for the yellowfins, Mitkees said that they always prefer to swim near the surface of the water, and even migrate seasonally, unlike all other common tuna fish.

Responsible Fishing

Sadek began talking to us more about the practice of “Catch & Release” by saying that “we try to release regardless of the conservative status of the catch. He said that it is totally acceptable to keep from one to two fish that is not endangered, however, it is unacceptable to keep fish that is endangered.”

There are certain species that we consider national treasure, “the Giant Trevally is one of the most popular fish amongst international professional fishermen” according to Sadek. He recalls that he personally met groups coming from the United States to rent boats and catch & release the Giant Trevally. Sadek then suggested that, “this type of fish is not protected at all which is very unfortunate since it has such an immense financial value that it can bring to the economy.”

To raise more awareness about the matter, Sadek said that the fishing association now prohibits fishermen in local and international tournaments to fish this specie. The federation also dedicated a special number of points in tournaments for those who catch and release the Giant Trevally.

Popular Destinations for fishing in Egypt

To know more about Egypt’s richest fishing locations, Sadek started by saying that “Egypt should be one of the best locations in the world for sport fishing tourism due to the freshwater that the Red Sea, Mediterranean and lakes provide.” He stated that these bodies of water provide a “big diversity of marine life. With all these elements combined, Egypt should be one of the top destinations for fishing.” Especially in the Red Sea, Sadek says that “the more south you go, the better the fishing experience will be due to the low populations of inhabitants there.

Fishing trajectory in Egypt

Fady El Daba, who is optimistic that fishing in Egypt is on track to becoming more than just a hobby, stated, “in the last 4-5 years, it is becoming more professional due to the number of tournaments being made yearly.” In terms of fishing, El Daba stated that “there are several academies that teach fishing to beginners, Bluefin academy for example teaches the basics of fishing and will prepare individuals to participate in tournaments as well.”

Via Wikipedia

Daba also told us that fishing has witnessed a steady rise in Egypt, and last year for the first time, “Egypt competed internationally in a tournament in Italy, and there’s a team representing the country. A friend of mine, Omar Khalifa has also been making International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record for anglers.”

It is clear that Egypt’s various species enable it to become a top fishing destination across the world. With these species scattered across the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, you can fish and learn more about them, appreciating the wildlife Egypt has. We have to bare in mind though that some of these species are better to be released after being caught to preserve and enable them to populate and spread across the seas.

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