x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

New study into effects of conserving Abu Dhabi fish stocks

The survey by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (Ead) is aimed at balancing the interests of the fishing business with the need to preserve the environment and fish stocks.

ABU DHABI // Fish stocks in Abu Dhabi waters are to be surveyed to establish the effects of conservation and protection measures on fishermen's livelihoods.

The survey by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (Ead) is aimed at balancing the interests of the fishing business with the need to preserve the environment and fish stocks.

Agency assessments over the past decade indicated that 71 per cent of Abu Dhabi's fish stocks are over-exploited, said Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, executive director of the agency's terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector.

Experts have also warned that popular species such as hammour, kingfish and shaari are often fished before they reach maturity and have had a chance to reproduce.

While enough is known about the health of fish stocks, there is less information about how the measures to protect them will affect the livelihoods of fishermen.

"Having more information will not only enable us to fulfil our commitment towards the protection of the emirate's fish stocks but it will also aid our stakeholders in making more informed decisions on a number of issues, ranging from legislation to consumption," Dr Al Dhaheri said.

Agency staff will spend the next four months collecting data for the survey, which should be completed next year.

The information they gather will play an essential role in optimising the use of depleted fish stocks and rebuilding them, Dr Al Dhaheri said.

vtodorova@thenational.ae