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Red Sea Revelations with Captain Ahmed Shaker

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Aabiya Noman Baqai

Writer and Editor at Destination Jeddah

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Captain Shaker talks about his expertise in the marine world, the Red Sea and so much more.

Who is Captain Ahmed Shaker?

I started working in the recreational marine business in 1988, in Jeddah and the GCC. I founded Marine Development Consultancy, Captain Mako Boating & Fishing Supplies, and became the Saudi International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) Representative in 2011.

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How did you get into the management of marine supplies and activities?
My love for the ocean started 42 years ago. My dad sent me to a diving class. I was extremely lucky to have a great PADI instructor, resulting in me attending sea and conservation events. Jamal Adnan, the owner of Arab Circumnavigator Dive Center and my first employer, was a hugely inspirational mentor. I studied Marine Science; becoming an oceanographer. I used all my income to buy a boat and I became a USCG Merchant Marine. As a marine manager, I attended all the courses the International Marina Institute was offering, traveling around the world, gaining knowledge.

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Captain Mako seems to be a different approach to selling boating and fishing supplies. What services does it offer?
At Captain Mako, besides selling fishing and boating supplies, we advise our clients on the best products, even if it means referring to competition. At Marine Development Consultancy, we provide creative and sustainable solutions for our local clients in the marine sectors.

We’ve heard you once caught an unlikely fish from the Red Sea. Is it true?

I questioned why swordfish were not found in the Red Sea, considering the ideal temperatures and habitat, so we invited the co-founder of the International Game Fish Association to Jeddah to teach us the fishing technique and help us catch one. We managed to catch three, making history.

Why do you believe that the Red Sea is the next generation gold mine?

The Red Sea is considered by experts, to be one of the last unspoiled frontiers in today’s world. It has potential to become the next fishing destination because of the many undiscovered species. Watersports also have an enormous potential with a new concept that we developed, called Eco-Sport Fishing, which provides sustainable sources of environmental-friendly activities. We need to start with working alongside the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage to establish eco-sport fishing as a touristic excursion in Saudi Arabia.

How can our generation enjoy the sea in ways that are both eco-friendly and sustainable?
We must emphasize the importance of environment preservation with programs like Eco-Obhor, Clean Marina Program or Blue Flag Marina. We also need to develop and apply Integrated Coastal Management Plans and Environmental Impact Assessment studies to minimize the negative impact during and after construction.

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