July 7, 2011


UAE begins survey to launch fish farms



The Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has started a field survey in order to establish fish farms on different coastal areas of the UAE and guard the marine resources of the country.


Dr Maryam Hassan Al Shenasi, undersecretary of the MoEW, said the first phase of the field survey will determine the best options, methods and standards for aquaculture and breeding various fish species.


"We will also develop measures to mitigate possible risks of the fish farms affected by red tide phenomenon. This initiative will raise the capacity of the country in protecting its environment and marine resources of the territorial waters," she indicated.


"The breeding process will be based on scientific research and will be carried out on the farms under expert supervision. A team of MoEW researchers and a number of international experts will jointly develop the mechanism to be implemented at these proposed fish breeding farms," noted Al Shenasi.


According to her, the ministry has conducted several discussions with academic experts, industry leaders and officials from other government department about preparing criteria to establish sustainable farm sites breeding marine fish species.


The efforts of the MoEW will help in restocking the exhausted supplies. As the number of fish stock in the Arabian Gulf dwindles, the new forms of fish farming will make available to markets plenty of fresh catches daily in various varieties.


The fish produced in the farms located at protected sea areas are harvested for resale. Such farms breed a variety of species, including hammour (the UAE's favourite fish), biah, helwayoo, safi, kingfish, silver pomfrey, sea bream, sea bass, sobaity and other fish in net cages off the shore.

The number of hammour, spangled emperor fish (shaari), the painted sweetlips (fersh) and the golden trevally (zuraidi) decreased in the UAE by 80% between 1978 and 2001-02. The number of fish fell by more than two-thirds in the waters around Dibba, and the overall biomass of fish came down to just 7% of what it had been earlier.


"The MoEW had been making constant efforts to control the phenomenon of red tide that spread widely across the UAE coast. The movement of the red tide phenomenon has reduced significantly, according to recent studies, which reveal the phenomenon is not causing desertification of the marine environment now," she explained.

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