Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Issues New Decree Regulating Catching of Pelagic Fish Using Encircling Nets

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Permitted fishing season from November 1 till April 30 of the following year

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) issued Ministerial Resolution No. 468 of 2019 regulating the catching of pelagic fish using encircling nets to preserve and ensure the sustainability of fish stocks.

The decree allows fishermen registered with the Ministry and running speed boats (Tarad) to use encircling nets that meet its specifications to harvest pelagic fish between November 1 and April 30 of the following year.

Per the decree, permitted fishing nets must have a length of up to 1,100 meters and a width of 20 meters in the western coast and 28 meters in the east coast, so they do not touch the seabed.

The fishing net must have one end tied to the boat and the other end attached to a light. Floaters must be two meters apart and showing the number of the fishing boat and emirate code once every ten meters.

Halima Essa Al Jasmi, Head of Fisheries Section at MOCCAE, said: “Giving fish time to replenish their stocks during their spawning season and grow to sizes that maximize their market value is critical to sustain the nation’s fisheries as well as fishermen’s livelihoods.”

The decree also prohibits fishermen from dumping damaged nets and dead fish at sea or on the shore, obliging them to dispose of them appropriately in the designated sites.

Moreover, the resolution permanently bans fishing using encircling nets in natural and man-made marine reserves, inland water bodies, such as natural and artificial lakes, waters within a 500-meter radius from petroleum fields safety zones, and all fishing waters of Abu Dhabi. The permanent fishing ban also applies in areas that fall within three nautical miles from military areas, islands, and critical coastal facilities, such as power stations and desalination plants.

The resolution stipulates that fishermen must pass through the checkpoints of the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA) as they head out on and return from their fishing trips. They also need to inform the CICPA centers of the fishing port they are registered under and notify them in case of changing their ports.

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