Name: Yasser Saied

Where he works: Red Sea Marine Protected Areas, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Egypt

Job title: Manager, RSMPA

What is your favorite part of your job?

Diving is my favorite, I enjoy every single second I spend with marine and wild life in the field.

What challenge comes up regularly as part of your work?

Conflict of interests between governmental agencies is the most tricky obstruction in our work, and of course complex bureaucracy.

What is one of your favorite online resources for learning more about reef resilience?

Beside Reef Resilience, I find IUCN, NOAA and AIMS are useful resources.

If you could ask Rod Salm anything, what would you ask?

Rod Salm is an iconic character for many conservation scientists and reef managers.  I personally find him a very humble, respected expert in the field who never hesitates to transfer his knowledge and experience to other people and I ask him to keep up the good work and take the opportunity to pass him my kind regards. 

What is the scariest thing you’ve seen in your work?

HAHAHAHA... I don’t get easily scared... But to be honest, once in 2000, I was scared to death underwater at 30m depth during a survey mission in the southern Egyptian Red Sea. I was very close to a shark attack with my dive buddy then, we have no choice then but taking a big table coral as a refuge. The shark kept circling around us in a aggressive, curious behavior for more than ten min., our heart beats were rapidly increasing until the shark decided suddenly to leave us in peace which left us looking forward returning up to the boat as quickly as we could. Although it was so scary underwater, it was so funny for the rest of the day on the surface.

Thanks God he left us, otherwise we would have been in the news headlines! 

In 10 years, where do you see yourself living and working? 

Maybe I will be a bit old to work in the field, then I might look for an early retirement and enjoy travelling around the world, but if I will had to pick a place other than the Egyptian Red Sea to work at, it would be either one of the IUCN offices in South East Asia or the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia.

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Comment by Yasser Saied on October 25, 2013 at 2:08am

Hi Cherie,

IN Regards to your question there are two strategies to solve this kind of situations in our area,

The first long term one,that might take ages,  is to wait until there will be a sort of central coordination and intervention from the side of the decision makers to solve the conflict and then you can continue your work in  a clear role.

while the more quicker short term one on the ground, which I personally prefer,  is using more personal communications to get the NGO's and local community supportive to your side  on the ground and that will make your situation more powerful, then you can end up with signing a reasonable local MOU which might end up the conflict in a short time and work get back to normal.

Comment by Cherie Wagner on October 16, 2013 at 9:30am

Hi Yasser. It is interesting that you mentioned conflicts of interest between governmental agencies as a challenge in your work. I think this is true everywhere, certainly here in the US. How do you deal with it in your work? I also wonder how others are dealing with it in their countries? Maybe the situation is very specific for different areas, but I wonder if there are some "best practices" for this in the context of coral reefs and management?


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