DUBAI, To coincide with Discovery Channel's Shark Week, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, will kick-start its Shark Week 2019 drive to raise public awareness of the importance of sharks in maintaining the ecological balance of the oceans and highlight the ways to protect them from extinction.

MOCCAE is organising the annual campaign this year from Sunday, 28th July, to Saturday, 3rd August, 2019, in cooperation with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, and Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai.

Taif Al Amiri, Director of the Government Communication Department at MOCCAE, said, "Sustaining local biodiversity is a strategic priority for the UAE. The ministry works relentlessly to meet this goal by setting legislations in place and launching initiatives on the ground to implement those legislations. Raising awareness of crucial environmental issues is an integral part of our community outreach to ensure the public is on board in supporting such missions."

She added, "Given the importance of sharks to the marine environment, we are committed to continuing our efforts for their long-term survival. With that in mind, the ministry launched the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2018-2021 that outlines concrete steps to promote shark conservation and sustainability in the UAE."

Dr Mohamed Elsayed, Regional Director at IFAW, said, "We are pleased to be part of this campaign. Sharks are often portrayed as dangerous species. However, it is in fact more common for a man to kill a shark than vice versa due to the high demand for their fins that are illegally traded."

"We need to work together to reduce the demand for these beautiful creatures and raise awareness on the imperative role they play in the marine ecosystem through sustaining the ecological balance in the oceans and seas," he added Shark Week 2019 will include various awareness, educational and recreational activities focused on identifying shark species in the country and their growth stages. There will be competitions aimed at assessing the young generation's knowledge on the importance of sharks in preserving the ecological balance and the urgent need to protect them from extinction.

The public is invited to participate in these activities in large numbers to shore up support for the campaign at Atlantis, The Palm, from 10:00 to 19:00 in Dubai throughout the week.

Source: Emirates News Agency