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EAD studies show steep decline in fish stocks in past three decades

posted on 31/07/2012: 3679 views

Fish stock assessment studies carried out by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) show a severe decline in the important UAE commercial fish stocks in the past 30 years.

Some most-favoured species like hammour and kingfish are currently fished at more than seven times the sustainable level.

Too many fish are being removed too early in their life cycle, reducing their potential to produce the next generation and consequently future stocks.

The EAD has come out with a project called Sustainable Fisheries Project that aims to address the problem of overfishing and its associated environmental impact, in line with the EWS-WWF's mission of promoting sustainable living and conserving the nation's natural biodiversity.

In April 2010 as part of the Sustainable Fisheries Project, EWS-WWF launched The Choose Wisely campaign to combat the growing problem of overfishing in the UAE by increasing consumer awareness, and curbing the demand on overfished species.

The campaign aims to provide consumers with information needed to make responsible decisions and to engage the retail, gastronomic and tourism sectors in promoting and providing sustainable fish options.

EWS-WWF developed an easy-to-use consumer guide which focuses on the most popular local species of fish found fresh in markets and stores across the Emirates for which stock assessments were carried out by the EAD.

The consumer guide divides these local species into three categories: The Green category includes local species of fish whose stocks are not currently receiving heavy fishing pressure and therefore are recommended for consumption.

The Orange category represents species of fish which may be consumed and whose stock is being exploited within sustainable levels.

The Red category includes fish which are being overfished beyond sustainable levels and whose population levels are being depleted.

This category includes the popular hammour which is being overexploited at over seven times the sustainable level, along with seven other species. – The Gulf Today


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