Nakheel plans 500 reefs to
boost fisheries resources

DUBAI - Nakheel, the developer of man-made islands, plans to create over 500 human-made reefs that will enhance fisheries resources.

By Abdul Basit

Published: Thu 24 Nov 2011, 11:17 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 5:19 AM

Human-made reefs, known as artificial reefs, are very effective devices for attracting and supporting large populations of reef-associated fish.

They can provide complex, hard surface habitat in areas where only soft bottoms occur, which includes the majority of Dubai’s marine waters.

“There will be a minimum of over 500 artificial reefs which will be built using the natural resources in our country,” Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

Emirates Marine Environmental Group, a UAE-based non-profit organization, is helping Nakheel in this initiative that is expected to see commercial fishing in theses areas in the next six months.

It is Nakheels’ intention to manage its human-made reefs sustainably. Only a small percentage will be fishable to help ensure fisheries resources will not be over-exploited.

Historically, fishing was an important industry and a way of life for the local people of Dubai. Today fishing is still an important industry and even for non-fishing residents of the community, the availability of locally caught fresh seafood is one of the attractions of life in Dubai. The construction of the Palms and other developments along the Dubai coastline has involved the loss of traditional fishing grounds and no commercial fishing is currently permitted at Nakheel developments.

“We are confident that the implementation of a sustainably managed Human-made Reef Project will enhance fisheries resources and improve habitat for reef fishes in Dubai waters,” Lootah said.

It is envisaged that some sites, such as northwest of Palm Jebel Ali, would be suitable for the development of quasi-natural coral reefs using local ‘caprock’ stones and sites near the Waterfront Islands and The World suitable for commercial fisheries human-made reefs.

At an early stage of the project a consultation exercise will be conducted involving key stakeholders, including fishers, to help with choice of human-made reef structures and the selection of deployment sites.

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