Ministry to streamline licensing process, implement new leisure boat regulations
His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, hosted a meeting with the heads of fishermen’s associations in the UAE to explore ways of boosting effectiveness of the fisheries sector.
Held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) in Dubai, the gathering aimed to identify the most important challenges facing fishermen’s associations and the fisheries sector in general. The participants reviewed the latest developments in the Ministry’s strategy to regulate the sector.
His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi said: “The strategic priorities for MOCCAE’s future direction include preserving the continuity of the fishing profession, attracting Emirati youth to the sector, creating an enabling environment for local fishermen, and ensuring the sustainability of the country’s fish stocks.”
He explained that as part of its efforts to achieve these goals, the Ministry plans to adopt new regulations that will streamline the licensing process for fishermen and fishing boats according to requirements in cooperation with the concerned authorities.
In response to the inquiries about the decision to prohibit the transfer and sale of boat licenses, the Minister noted that the new rules will soon provide an opportunity for those wishing to enter the fisheries sector by issuing new licenses, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
MOCCAE is working with the relevant government agencies in each emirate to examine the list of the fishing boats currently licensed in the UAE, and evaluate them in terms of their effectiveness in practicing the fishing profession. The exercise aims to ensure that all license holders actively participate in the development of the sector, and help enhance its contribution to food security and sustainability. The authorities will monitor the movement of the boats to guarantee optimal utilization of the issued licenses.
His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi said: “In line with its commitment to protecting the rights of fishermen, the Ministry seeks to update the regulations governing the activities of leisure boats to ensure that they do not compete with licensed fishing boats. The revised regulations will be issued within the next few years.”
During the meeting, the Minister spoke about the significance of fishing regulations. He explained that the local fish stocks face multiple challenges, therefore MOCCAE has implemented decisions to regulate the fishing and trade of certain species of fish during their breeding seasons to provide them with the opportunity to replenish their numbers. He added that the fishing bans only apply to limited periods on an annual basis, and highlighted their economic benefits for fishermen as well as their alignment with national strategic objectives.
His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi emphasized the effectiveness of the fishing regulations that have resulted in a significant increase in the stocks of Arabian safi (rabbitfish) and sheri (emperor) in UAE waters.
Furthermore, the Ministry aims to assess the state of the country’s fishing ports to indicate the extent of their need for renovation or development to enhance their capacity and efficiency.
The Minister clarified that in its approach to the fisheries sector, MOCCAE takes into account the national priorities of driving sustainable development, enhancing food security and self-sufficiency, and preserving the marine environment and fish stocks.
He urged the heads of the fishermen’s associations to step up their efforts to raise awareness among fishermen about the UAE’s objectives and the importance of complying with fishing regulations that help safeguard the sustainability of this vital sector.