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They called for the need to educate fishermen about the unauthorised fish species since the UAE waters have got large numbers of different kinds of small fish.
Dr Seif Al Ghais, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Department in Ras Al Khaimah said the ministerial decree prohibiting the catch of fish that are smaller than the permitted size was issued on Sunday and, this will stop fishermen from catching young fish, thereby preserving and protecting the emirate’s fish stocks.
“Most of the UAE waters have multi-species of fish. Some of these species reach maturity very fast and when they are smaller in size. I do not think it is a good idea to prohibit fishermen from catching such types of fish. But there is need to spread awareness among the fishermen about certain fish species that are small-sized in nature and the small or baby fish which are not permitted for catch or sale in the markets so as to avoid possible confusions which would lead to over-fishing,” said Dr Ghais.
“There should be standard sizes of fish which are permitted to be caught and this should depend on the fish species. I think the authorities have looked into this and the task now is to pass on the information to the fishermen,
Dr Ghais said, “There are two types of over-fishing, one is ‘recruitment over fishing-the catching of fish from their breeding grounds when they are still few in number and have not yet multiplied. This often happens when fishermen encroach on the protected and reserved areas of the sea especially the creeks or areas near the beaches and catch the fish there.”
“The second type is the growth of over-fishing involves the catching of baby or small fish in a non-protected fishing area while they are still in their breeding season. This is the most common type of over-fishing and involves the use of unauthorized fishing nets that trap small fish and other tiny creatures,” he added.
According to Dr Ghais both types of over-fishing affect the small aquatic life and that stringent measures should be put in place enforce the laws and to punish the violators.
“Catching of the bay fish was the major cause of fish droughts and that there was need for fishermen to avoid random fishing, which includes angling for baby fish,” he said.
A senior official from the Ministry of Environment and Water said the ministry will coordinate with the fisheries department and competent local authorities in all the emirates on the protection of small aquaculture species.
He noted that the ministry will organise campaigns to educate fishermen and fishermen’s organisations including giving them lessons on the lengths of fish to be caught so as to protect the small sizes of marine stocks.
RAK Municipality had earlier urged fishermen to be cautious and stop the use of unauthorised fine-fishing nets in order to protect the emirate’s fishing stocks.
Fishermen have been also asked several times to stop encroaching on the reserved and prohibited areas of the sea in the emirate and the authorities warned of imposing tough penalties on the violators.
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