February marks a five-month ban on shark fishing in UAE waters to help protect the endangered species says Nick Ames
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has banned shark fishing from Thursday Feb 1st to June 30th, a ruling that coincides with their breeding season and is part of efforts to replenish populations of at-risk species
Salah Al Rayssi, director of the Fisheries Sustainability Department said: ‘Sharks play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy habitat by ‘cleaning-up’ the reefs and preying on weak and sick fish populations, keeping coral reefs free of disease and other fish healthy and strong.’
UAE waters are home around 30 shark species, which are classified as endangered or critically endangered.
The ban forbids the fishing of Oceanic whitetips, sawfish, whale sharks and three types of hammerheads, all designated critically endangered and vulnerable.
‘IIlegal fishing practices, the global spread of unethical and uncontrolled fishing methods as well as the rise of the shark fin trade are putting some shark species on the edge of extinction. Global efforts must be intensified to prevent that from happening,’ added Al Rayssi
Exporting sharks caught in waters off the UAE is also banned throughout the year though their import is permitted, providing the ministry’s procedures and requirements are met.