The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) and its key strategic partner the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) recently held a workshop with UAE fisheries scientists to prioritise and integrate future research activities.
The workshop, attended by 22 scientists and fisheries professionals, was held in recognition of the current severely overexploited state of the UAE’s fishery. The workshop forms part of the wider UAE Fisheries Change Management Programme which will be launched by the MOEW and EAD imminently.
The scientific research workshop, which was Step 1 of the Programme, hosted representatives from the MOEW, EAD, Dubai Municipality, Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF, and New York University – Abu Dhabi.
Concern was expressed by attendees at the state of the UAE’s fisheries and the scientific research workshop was regarded as an essential first step to understand and improve the management of the UAE’s fish resources and associated fisheries.
Key research areas for 2016 and beyond were prioritised and included: harmonising the gathering of catch and effort data across the UAE; further research into the biology and genetics of key fish species; and evaluating the effects of non-fishing activities on the fishery.
Commenting on the scientific research workshop, Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, the Secretary General of EAD, stated:
“The criticality of a timely response to protect our fisheries for current and future generations cannot be under-estimated. The problem of dwindling fish stocks is not a legacy that we can pass on to future generations. It will be too late by then. But the good news is, that with the active participation of all stakeholders we can halt and even reverse this decline for the good of our ecosystems, our fishing industry, eco-tourism, cultural and leisure pursuits. We are grateful this week that we met such enthusiasm from our scientific researchers and institutions, and look forward to engaging with all fisheries stakeholders this year to find a sustainable solution.”
Her Excellency Eng. Mariam Hareb, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Water Resources and Nature Conservation at the MOEW, states: “The scientific research workshop was a great start in harmonising research activities across the UAE – we are pleased to have an enhanced understanding of what we can all work together on moving forward. The current state of our fishery demands is our attention and our current and future collaboration.”
The outcome from the workshop will be a nationwide, integrated fisheries research plan which is a first for the UAE. Looking ahead, keep an eye out for the launch of the UAE Fisheries Change Management Programme this quarter. We all have a role to play.