A resolution to stop the illegal catching of sharks for their fins and throwing their bodies back into the sea will take effect from September 1.
Dr Rashid bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, issued the resolution regulating the hunting and trading of sharks on Saturday. It also aims to prevent the trading of live sharks caught in the fishing waters of the UAE, unless a permit has been issued by the ministry.
The resolution limits the hunting of sharks in fishing waters not less than five nautical miles from the shores of the UAE and not less than three nautical miles from the islands of the UAE, and states that sharks must be brought fully into the port.
Under the new rules, fishermen operating boats with a lynch – a tool with several hooks – will be allowed to catch sharks beginning on July 1 each year until the end of January the following year, so long as they do not exceed 100 hooks per lynch.
Companies are not permitted to export sharks caught in the fishing waters of the UAE – whether fresh, frozen, dried or salted, smoked or canned, or in any other form – throughout the year.
The import of sharks in any form is allowed by the resolution. The shipments must be accompanied by an original certificate stating source of origin, detailing the scientific name and quantity of each type of shark. It should also have the original health certificate, commercial invoice and the packing list for each shipment.
The importation of shark species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – such as the great hammerhead, scalloped bonnet head, swordfish, carcharinus longimanus, manta rays, great white shark, basking shark and sphyrna – require an export or re-export certificate from the exporting country, and an valid import certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water must be secured.
The decision also allows the re-export of all imported sharks, provided the permission is granted by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water after receiving all the necessary documents,
In the case of the re-export of shark species listed by CITES, additional documents need to be submitted, along with prior authorisation from the importing country for re-export of the shark species to prevent the re-export of shark fins from the UAE.
All of the re-exported shipments undergo strict procedures of quarantine and regulation to control the international trade of animals and plants threatened with extinction in the emirates.