The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) organized the first Forum for Fishing and Fishermen Affairs, as part of its strategy to support the fishing industry, protect the marine environment, and ensure the sustainability of its biodiversity.
The forum drew the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Defense and fishermen societies.
In her opening remarks, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The fishing sector is an integral part of the UAE’s heritage and history. The Ministry is committed to supporting the sector through an integrated system of flexible legislative framework and initiatives, as well as financial support. We are also keen to raise the awareness of related national directives and objectives among the fishing community through targeted campaigns to improve the sustainability of the marine environment, and to promote the fishing profession as a contributor to enhancing food security.”
Her Excellency commended the efforts of the Ministry of Defense in developing the sector through a fishermen support program that exempts them from the maintenance fees for fishing boat tracking devices.
During the forum, MOCCAE showcased its efforts to support the sector during 2022. These include amending the executive regulations of Federal Law No. 23 of 1999 on the exploitation, protection, and development of living aquatic resources, coordinating with stakeholders to exempt fishermen from maintenance fees for fishing boat tracking devices, regulating the waiver of a fishing boat license, and issuing legislation that regulates the delegation of a boat master to a fisherman who has completed 50 years and exempting them from fees in this regard. In addition, the Ministry has launched a project to maintain fishing ports and is currently developing a regulation on fish export to boost fishermen income.
The forum also included an introductory presentation on the decision to exempt fishermen from maintenance fees for tracking devices, aimed at encouraging the fishing profession and supporting people with limited incomes.
The decision on exemption of the fees classifies the beneficiaries into two categories. The first category is 100 percent exempted and includes fishermen who own fishing gear and practice fishing as a profession, provided that their monthly income doesn’t exceed AED25,000 even after benefiting from any of the government’s housing or social care programs. This category also includes senior citizens over the age of 60 years and any other cases determined by the CICPA.
The second category, which involves 50 percent exemption, includes fishermen who own fishing gear and practice it as a profession but don’t meet the other criteria stipulated in the first category.