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Natural UAE

Demersal Fish

The cartilaginous fishes, sharks and rays, are found in open water over sand, but often close to offshore structures, reefs and rocky outcrops which harbour the smaller fishes on which they feed. Both will also feed on crustaceans, often close inshore.

Khors and sharms attract many sand and mud-dwelling species, including mullet, milkfishes, goatfish, catfish and rays. By far the largest concentrations of bony fishes are on and around the coral reefs. Some relatively well developed coral outcrops are still present around offshore islands and on the east coast. From Dibba to Fujairah, areas of healthy coral and patch reefs, interspersed by large areas of sand, are home to many shallow-water reef and bottom dwelling fish species.

Before dredging deepened the creeks at Sharjah and Dubai, giant sawfish were relatively common in the shallow waters, and were regarded as a potential hazard by local fishermen. Occasional specimens still turn up in the Fujairah market. The many shallow creeks and inlets surrounding the island city of Abu Dhabi offer safety, security and sustenance to a variety of inshore species. Commercial fishing is still an important activity throughout the UAE's coastal regions, and a visit to one of the many fish souks is an interesting and educational experience. Most of the inshore species are to be found there.

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