New laws have been put into effect to protect endangered species of sharks and ensure populations are able to recover.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) issued the Ministerial Resolution 43 that regulates shark fishing and trade. As part of the new legislation, registered fishermen will only be permitted to fish sharks from 1st July to the end of February the following year. Restrictions also specify the size of the hook that can be used and state that fishing must take place more than eight miles from the shore. The act of finning and dumping sharks has also been outlawed.
The new stipulations will also see fishermen forced to release sharks back into the water when caught outside of the designated fishing season and take responsibility for handing over any dead sharks recovered from their fishing gear to local authorities.
A permanent ban has also been placed on the fishing of sharks that feature on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) list.
Aside from placing restrictions on the fishing of sharks, the new law also tackles illegal trade. The import and re-export of shark fins in any form has been permanently prohibited and only excludes fins that have been imported for scientific purposes and are approved by MOCCAE.
The news follows the recent release of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s Fisheries Assessment Survey, which revealed that 85 percent of the UAE’s fish stock is overexploited.