Curbs on leisure fishing in Dubai
The Dubai Municipality will suspend issuing recreational fishing licence and impose Dh500 fine on those involved in unauthorised fishing as part of its efforts to protect the marine life, a senior official said on Monday.
“Indiscriminate fishing, combing all small creatures living by seaside is punishable and will attract a fine of Dh500,” said Khalid Salem Suleitin, Head of the Environmental Emergency Office at the Dubai Municipality.
He said that a campaign has been launched to check haphazard fishing going on at Dubai beaches and officials will be patrolling the coastal areas to check illegal fishing.
“We are going to stop issuing the licences for the time being. We want to discuss the matter with Environment Department officials and come up with ways to further regulate recreational fishing.”
The official noted that the marine environment section of the municipality has been issuing the licences for recreational fishing to residents free of cost. About 300 licences have been issued, according to Suleitin. “It is true that we are issuing fishing permits to people without fees. But they are never meant to spoil our marine wealth,” he said, pointing out that permits are given only with certain conditions.
“They are allowed certain areas and certain types of fish for fishing. However, we see people going to coastal areas round-the-clock and fishing without discrimination. They even catch small crabs and lobsters and that may pose a great threat to our marine stock.” Fishing in specific areas ensures the management of fishing operation and strict implementation of the Federal Law No. 23 of 1999 on the Exploitation, Protection and Development of Aquatic Resources in the UAE and the Federal Law No. 24 of 1999 for the Protection and Development of Environment.
However, Suleitin noted that members of the public throng the beaches near the Creek Park, Mamzar Park and the Jumeirah Open Beach in groups to fish and they hunt even tiny fishes and marine creatures. The official said those who are enjoying fishing as a pastime should limit it as a weekend hobby, not as a daily affair.
“The government is trying to enrich the marine life by releasing baby fish in the sea. If people just come and catch all small fish what will be left for the next generation? If they want fish for their dishes why don’t they go to our markets where every kind of fishes are available,” he asked.
He urged everyone to cooperate with his section in its drive to preserve the marine resources and asked the public to inform the municipality at 800900 if any violation is found.
Rajesh Balachandran, a Dubai resident with a recreational fishing licence from the municipality, said he has noticed that people who abuse the marine life are mainly those without fishing permits. “Though the licence is free of charge, there is a lot of procedures and paper work involved in obtaining it. Only those who have a passion for fishing will take the pain of doing it legally. Others just go there and fish. Those who are caught by the municipality are mainly such people,” he said.
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