DUBAI, 21st July, 2016 (WAM)–Following the global spread of unethical and uncontrolled fishing methods and the rise of the shark fin trade which is putting shark species on the edge of extinction, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment reaffirms UAE’s global role in the preservation of marine biodiversity and raising community awareness on the issue.
Eng. Mariam Hareb, Assistant Under-Secretary of Water Resources and Nature Conservation Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, said, “In line with the directives of our leadership and in light of UAE’s pioneering role in protecting the environment, MOCCAE has been taking a series of tangible steps aimed at protecting the environment, spreading awareness and enhancing cooperation for the protection of sharks in order to contribute to the global environmental balance and maintain a sustainable marine environment.”
Hareb pointed out that The UAE recognises the threat to sharks, and the wider challenges resulting from overfishing and illegal wildlife trade and is taking these efforts as part of an ongoing continual assessment of its environmental policy and action effectiveness which has made it a regional leader. It was the first country in the Middle East to ratify the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The UAE’s efforts include enhancing monitoring and control measures by working with relevant authorities domestically and internationally, such as inspections and audits at fish markets and landing sites with customs and municipalities. Where laws and regulations have been broken concerning shark and fin trading, confiscations and legal action are taken as necessary.
Sharks are among the oldest creatures alive, existing more than 400 million years ago.
They play a big role in maintaining the seas’ ecological balance, where they feed on weak and diseased fish to prevent the spread of diseases in the marine environment and prevent the continuation of mating among infected fish.
The majority of shark species are threatened or endangered because sharks reproduce in small numbers and their growth period is very long, exacerbated by illegal fishing practices. There are approximately 550 species of sharks present around the world and more than 30 species in the Arabian Gulf.