By Ola Salem
ABU DHABI // New restrictions on fisherman are needed to protect sea life, the Minister of Environment told the Federal National Council on Tuesday.
The high cost of venturing out to sea is not sufficient reason for fisherman to catch every fish, Dr Rashid bin Fahad said.
Dr bin Fahad said local fish were part of the wealth of the country and did not belong solely to fishermen. With the number of fish in decline, he said it was important to protect what was left.
Comments were made in response to Hamad Al Rahoomi’s question as to why the ministry had restricted fisherman to either using a net or a traditional fishing cage.
“I agree to protect the fishing wealth for future generations,” Mr Al Rahoomi said. “But this has affected fisherman. They have complained about this.”
Mr Al Rahoomi said both fishing methods were needed to bring in the largest catch, but Mr bin Fahad said this was not the goal of the ministry.
He said other Arabian Gulf countries had even greater restrictions. In Oman, for example, only citizens can fish commercially.
To help solve the problem, Mr Al Rahoomi called for the ministry to stop issuing licences to new fishing boat owners and to revoke the licence of expatriates who were abusing the profession.