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Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Issues New Decree to Regulate Surface Fishing Using Beach Seines

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has issued Ministerial Decree No.471 for the year 2016 on regulating surface fishing using beach seines. The resolution reflects the ministry’s aim to regulate professional fishing to preserve, develop and ensure the sustainability of fish stocks, and enhance food security by protecting fish stocks from depletion. This will also give fishermen the opportunity to benefit from surface fishing, which holds great profits for them; as well as high nutritional benefits for consumers.

Detailing the new rule, Salah Abdullah Al Rayssi, Director of Fisheries Department at MOCCAE, said: “In line with the objectives of the ministry’s strategy and as a core pillar of UAE Vision 2021, this decision promotes food safety, sustainability of domestic production and conservation of marine environment. Banning surface fishing during a specific period of time is the first step of its kind to be taken by the ministry and a crucial one. It supports the preservation, development and sustainability of fish stocks by allowing them time to lay eggs and set off migration.”

The legislation will regulate surface fishing using beach seines by standardizing the specifications of the seines that should be used during the hunt. The legislature further specified the open season for surface fishing to be from October 1 to June 30 of the following year, to avoid depletion of fish as they are an important and dependable source of nourishment.

Al Rayssi indicated that after meeting with fishermen and listening to their needs with regards to fishing using beach seines, the ministry updated several general provisions, where fishermen are to set sail for surface fishing using beach seines after Fajr prayer, fishermen may not toss fishing seines outside the 1.1 nautical miles radius from the shore, all beach seines must be pulled from the water by Maghrib prayer of the same day, all fishing boats must pull over at checkpoints while exiting or entering the waters, all fishing equipment must be packed on a single boat, hunting of sea turtles and/or collection of their eggs is strictly prohibited and hunting of dolphins, whales, dugongs and other marine mammals is strictly prohibited.

He further explained that other updated provisions focus on the specifications of the beach seines that can be used for surface fishing; where the new decree describes in detail the length, width and volume of the seines that can be used.

In case of violations, all responsible parties will be subjected to the consequences set forth in the provisions of the Federal Law No. 23 for the year 1999 concerning the exploitation, protection and development of living aquatic resources.

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