Monday 20 September 2021 - 12:37:44 pm

Supreme Committee for aquatic resources reviews plans to overhaul licencing process for fishermen, fishing boat

DUBAI, 3rd April, 2021 (WAM) -- The Supreme Committee for the Exploitation, Protection, and Development of Living Aquatic Resources held its first meeting of this year presided over by Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

At the meeting, Dr. Al Nuaimi said, "As part of this priority, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) regulates the fishing sector to minimise its impact on the sustainability of marine life. The ministry has set out the requirements for fishing practices and the permitted fishing gear to preserve the fisheries stocks for future generations," he added.

The ministry highlighted its plans to overhaul the licencing process for fishermen and fishing boats to maximise efficiency. A total of 5,396 fishermen and 6,003 fishing boats are listed in the ministry’s general registry.

According to the ministry’s field surveys, many of the boats are non-operational, and their status must be reviewed. The surveys showed that 522 fishermen own more than one licenced boat, and 362 boats are registered in the names of heirs.

The ministry pointed out that its decision to stop the issue of new fishing boat licences was misused, leading to the creation of a parallel market where existing licences were traded at vastly inflated prices. As a result, lower-income fishermen were often unable to afford a fishing boat licence or placed themselves under considerable financial pressure to obtain one.

Consequently, the ministry decided to cease the sale and transfer of fishing boat licences, unless it was to a first- or second-degree relative whose livelihood depended on fishing.

In 2021, the ministry will review the lists of registered fishing boats in collaboration with the concerned authorities to assess their compliance with the requirements and cancel the licences of non-operational boats.

It will also adopt a new mechanism that allows the conditional issue of new fishing boat licences to support the ministry’s priorities of enhancing food security, preserving fish stocks, and ensuring the sustainability of the fishing profession.

The ministry will admit a limited number of new fishermen in each emirate to its general registry in line with the needs of the sector.

By issuing new licences for fishermen and fishing boats, the ministry seeks to create job opportunities for young Emiratis in the fisheries sector and put an end to the trading of licences in the parallel market.

"Protection of the marine environment is a strategic priority that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment works relentlessly to achieve through joining forces with its stakeholders and leveraging cutting-edge innovative technologies," Dr. Al Nuaimi concluded.