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Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi highlights need to conserve Abu Dhabi's fish stocks

posted on 29/11/2011: 2874 views



On the occasion of World Fisheries Day - which falls in November - the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has released the results of studies which indicate that measures to ensure the UAE's fish stocks are making a positive impact.

In response to surveys which revealed that the UAE's fish stocks were being fished above their sustainable optimum levels, EAD and its partners have implemented a series of measures which are helping to conserve fish resources. An index developed for the commercial fisheries sector shows a significant increase in the quantity of sustainably exploited fish species in landings, from 10% in 2005 to 23% in 2010. However, EAD experts warn that fish stocks are still over-exploited and more effort needs to be done to conserve them.

According to EAD, the stocks of 8 popular species (including the Hamour, Farsh and Shaari) are heavily over-exploited reaching up to 6 times the optimal fishing pressure. Over 70% of the Abu Dhabi Emirate's fisheries resource base is currently classified by EAD as ‘over-exploited.' EAD is currently working with stakeholders such as the Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA), the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water, the Abu Dhabi Fishermen Cooperative Society, and the Delma Fishermen Cooperative Society, to implement a number of comprehensive fisheries management regulations and initiatives aimed at re-building the Emirate's fish stocks.

Recently, H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of EAD, signed a decree allowing the fishing of migratory fish using gillnets locally known as 'Al Ghazal.' Use of the nets has been permitted in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi from October 7, 2011 to March 31, 2012, coinciding with the optimum fishing season for these fish. This decree helps to ensure the rights of fishermen to continue practicing fishing as a part of tradition and as a means of livelihood, and at the same time helps to ensure the conservation of fish stocks and the environment.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, commented: "Our fisheries are an important component of the cultural heritage of coastal communities. They offer a source of employment and recreation as well as contribute to the food security of the Emirate. By studying, monitoring and regulating our stock, we're helping to ensure the sustainability of the fishing industry, safeguard our food security, and promote economic development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The research we've undertaken underlines that we must act to preserve our fish stocks in order to sustain them for current and future generations." EAD has also supported and helped launch the ‘Choose Wisely' campaign (www.choosewisely.ae), which is promoted by the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wide Fund for Nature. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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