Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Begins Enforcing Decree Regulating Surface Fishing Using Surrounding Nets

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has begun enforcing Ministerial Decree No.695 for the year 2016 on regulating surface fishing using surrounding nets. 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.

Salah Abdullah Al Rayssi, Director of the Sustainability of Marine & Coastal Environments at MOCCAE, said: “In line with the objectives of the ministry’s strategy and as a core pillar of the UAE Vision 2021, this decision promotes food safety, sustainability of domestic production and conservation of the marine environment. By banning surface fishing during a specific period of time, the ministry aims to support the preservation, development and sustainability of fish stocks through allowing fish time to lay eggs and set off migration.”

The legislation regulates surface fishing using surrounding nets by standardizing the specifications of the seines that should be used during fishing. The legislation further specifies the open season for surface fishing to be from October 15 of every year to May 15 of the following year, to avoid depletion of fish as they are an important and dependable source of nourishment.

Al Rayssi indicated that the decree stipulates the specifications of nets used for fishing in both western and eastern coasts. The fishing nets should be of a maximum length of 1,100 m and maximum width of 20 m and should not touch the seabed. Meanwhile, in the eastern coast, the maximum width of net specified is 28 m and again it should not touch the seabed.  

Al Rayssi said: “The net should not be closed from the bottom while catching the surface fishes using surrounding net, or the net should not be tied with more than one boat.”

“The prohibited areas for fishing are: natural or industrial marine reserves, inland waters such as natural or artificial lakes, areas that fall within three nautical miles from the military zones or marine islands or vital facilities, power stations and desalination plants on the coast, or located within 500 meters outside the boundaries of petroleum industrial areas specified on marine charts,” he elaborated.

“All fishermen should pass through the checking points of the concerned fishing areas while going out to sea and returning from their fishing trips. All fishermen should register themselves within a specific area of fishing and should inform concerned authorities in case of changing the fishing area, while obeying the fishing and safety rules of each emirate,” Al Rayssi added.

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