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Fishing with harmful equipment banned

posted on 16/06/2001: 935 views

The Abu Dhabi Municipality yesterday banned fishing of shrimps along the coasts, beaches and creeks of the emirate, with immediate effect. A circular issued by the municipality said the measure, one of series of control mechanisms by the government of Abu Dhabi to protect the depleting fish stock, was taken under instructions of higher authorities. "Fishing of any quantity of shrimps using any type of equipment is strictly banned on coasts, beaches and creeks of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," the circular said. It said the move was also in keeping with efforts aimed at protecting fishery in the emirate.

The municipality also banned catching of all types of fish on the coasts, beaches and creeks of the emirate using harmful fishing equipment. It is also strictly prohibited to use Manashil to lift Dawabi from seabed, the circular added. Government scientists and environmentalists are grappling with the problem of depleting stocks of shrimp and other rare fish species.

The government has taken a series of measures to bring the fishery under tight control and to find ways to increase its productivity. One of these measures is the insistence that all fishing boats carry at least one UAE citizen and that, from April this year, every boat fishing in UAE waters must have a UAE captain. A marine ecologist has said the decline in fish stock was worrying and needed urgent action to prevent further decline. The expert believes that fish stock in the country is being depleted due to over-exploitation of the mangrove and seagrass ecosystems which serve as fish nurseries. He said studies had shown a steady decline in the total weight of fish landed per boat and fishermen. The demand for fisheries products, which are a major and popular source of dietary protein in the region, has, on the other hand, been rising rapidly due to the increase in population, the expert noted.

According to estimates, the UAE has around 8,000 fishing boats, manned by 19,000 men of different nationalities, and the fishery lands approximately 115,000 tonnes per year. In order to protect the supply of local fish, the government banned export of fish but not re-export of imported fish and fish processed by local units.

Consumption per capita of fresh and frozen fish in the country is 33 kg which is far ahead of the world rate of 16.4 kg. UAE fisheries have shown a considerable increase in total harvest over recent years, with that catch increasing from 64,000 tonnes in 1976 to 117,608 tonnes in 1999, according to official figures. (The Khaleej Times)


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