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Five UAE sites identified as biologically and ecologically important

posted on 11/07/2015: 2263 views

Five sites in the UAE were recognised for their rich and unique environmental biodiversity during a regional meeting hosted by the UAE Government.

The recently concluded regional workshop on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) in the north-western Indian Ocean and Gulf identified Abu Dhabi's southwest waters and Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, Dubai's Jebel Ali, and Sharjah's Sir Bu Na'air Island and Khor Kalba for their marine ecology.

The sites were evaluated based on the criteria established at the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which included biological uniqueness or rarity, with special emphasis on the stages and phases of local species' life cycle.

Engineer Mariam Saeed Hareb, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Water Resources and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Water, said: "We are highlighting the significance of conserving the open oceans and high seas for the survival of all marine species. We have efficiently and effectively protected the local species, especially the endangered ones, and their numbers are steadily thriving.”

Mariam however, admitted that more work needs to be done to save the ecological system from further degradation.

Here's a low-down on the five sites:

Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve

This area in Abu Dhabi is especially important to migratory and endangered species. It also supports the second-largest population of dugongs in the world after Australia. It provides crucial nurseries and spawning grounds for a wide variety of fish species, and serves as a foraging habitat for endangered hawksbill turtles and green turtles.

Abu Dhabi's southwest waters

These are home to mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reefs, algal mats and sabkhas. They support an important spectrum of marine life including seabirds and migratory waders, a large population of endangered hawksbill turtles, and dugongs.

Jebel Ali

This area in Dubai is where the endangered hawksbill sea turtle nests. Dolphins are also frequent visitors here, particularly Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.

Sir Bu Na'air Island

This protected area off Sharjah is home to more than 300 hawksbill turtle nests every year, the largest nesting population in the UAE. It also serves as a breeding ground for sea birds.

Khor Kalba

This area is home to endemic species of birds as well as crabs, molluscs and reptiles. – Gulf News -


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