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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

FNC to question environment minister about organic produce and fishing bans

Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, will be asked to justify a fishing embargo on sheri and safi

Dubai FNC member Hamad Al Rahoomi has called for a widening of Emiratisation through all the UAE job market. Victor Besa / The National 
Dubai FNC member Hamad Al Rahoomi has called for a widening of Emiratisation through all the UAE job market. Victor Besa / The National 

Tighter regulation on produce labelled as organic, the economic effect of fishing bans and high levels of pollution are just some of the issues that will be tackled by the UAE Federal National Council this week.

The FNC will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday where members will confront the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, over several issues troubling their respective emirates.

Dubai member Hamad Al Rahoomi will be questioning him on the country’s annual fishing ban, that was lifted last week.

For the past three years, the Government has banned fishermen from catching sheri and safi fish in March and April, the breeding season for the fish. While the embargo may have helped to replenish fish stocks, Mr Al Rahoomi said it had also negatively affected fishermen’s livelihoods.

“They have lost a lot because of this, many have complained to me over social media,” he said. “Those two months are the high season for these types of fish, so if they cannot catch them, their catch is considered worthless.”

The ban is causing some fishermen to lose their primary source of income and they cannot then cover costs of living, he said.

“The fishermen are complaining and suffering because they have been prohibited from fishing during the peak season.

“And fishermen from neighbouring countries are catching the same fish from the same waters.”

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Read more:

Fish prices rise in RAK for second week amid crackdown on sheri and safi

Abu Dhabi farms go organic in push for chemical-free farming

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Mr Al Rahoomi last raised the issue with the minister about a year ago but said he wants to propose that the fishermen are compensated to make up for their losses.

“We are not against decisions that enhance fish availability and sustainability, but the fishermen should not suffer and lose, the ministry should at least compensate them for those two months’ losses.”

He will also propose that the ministry studies the effectiveness of the ban. “Has it really increased the number of fish?” he said.

Ras Al Khaimah member Salem Al Shehhi will be asking the minister about increasing levels of pollution in the country, namely litter.

“You can see pollution across a number of areas. Some is in the form of litter – especially in popular outdoor places or green fields – that was left behind by the locals,” he said.

“This pollutes the environment and reflects an uncivilised scene. When people go for a picnic for instance and leave their waste behind, it does not decompose.

“There is also industrial and emissions waste, and pollution in general.”

He said he had received complaints from many people regarding the issue.

“There were also cases of poor waste management. Some individuals are taking the liberty of burning rubbish themselves without following the proper methods, and that results in toxic gases and smells,” he said.

Dubai member Azza bin Suleiman will be asking Dr Al Zeyoudi on the regulations in place to ensure the credibility of products labelled as organic.

“Organic farms and markets have become widespread, so I would like to know how the ministry is monitoring them,” she said.

“The organic trend could be a very positive thing, so what kind of motivation is the ministry providing for such projects by local entrepreneurs? Or is it all being imported?” she said.

The FNC is expected to pass a draft law on managing waste this week.