Wednesday 30 November 2022 - 12:30:50 am

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment announces launch of 'Shark Week' 2022

DUBAI, 21st July, 2022 (WAM) -- The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has announced the launch of this year’s "Shark Week" in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), and Atlantis, The Palm.

Set to run from 24th to 31st July, the Week’s activities aim to educate the public about the key role sharks play in keeping marine ecosystems in balance and the importance of conserving marine biodiversity.

Dr. Nasir Sultan, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at MoCCAE, said, "Our biodiversity is subject to increasing pressures and is declining rapidly. We address this critical issue through an integrated legislative framework, coupled with community-oriented initiatives and programmes. Acknowledging the need to protect sharks, particularly endangered species, the Ministry developed the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks that presents concrete steps to enhance shark sustainability in the UAE. We have also issued resolutions that regulate their fishing and trade."

"Shark Week 2022 perfectly aligns with our goals. We invite all citizens, residents, and visitors to participate in its fun-filled and informative activities that will teach them about the magnificent predators of the ocean and how they can help protect them," he added.

Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD, commented, "We are very pleased to be aligned with MoCCAE and our partners on Shark Week, as the conservation and protection of biodiversity is one of the main strategic priorities of EAD. Sharks are a very important species to us, and we would like the general public to be more informed about them. As part of the activities of Shark Week, we will be sharing our precious and vital scientific information, positioning EAD as a leader in research that helps us develop relevant policies regarding biodiversity so that it may thrive and exist in abundance in Abu Dhabi waters."

"Additionally, EAD, in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), published a report on the status and level of threats to shark species in the Arabian Sea and its surrounding areas. On this occasion, we would like to thank the community and fishermen for their cooperation and support for the conservation efforts of shark species and for adhering to the relevant legislation," he continued.

For his part, Elsayed Mohamed, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at IFAW, noted, "IFAW is cognisant of the UAE’s efforts concerning the protection of biodiversity and applauds the legislative framework set concerning sharks. Shark Week is a wonderful opportunity to ingrain the love for conservation in the citizens of the world, especially youth, to urge them to join this crucial urgent mission to save wildlife and their natural habitats."

Shark Week will kick off with two virtual workshops under the theme "Sharks in the UAE", targeting fishermen as well as the general public, on 24th and 25th July. The agenda will feature separate sessions in English and Arabic, presented by biodiversity and fisheries experts from MOCCAE, IFAW, Atlantis, The Palm, and EAD.

The first workshop will focus on interesting facts about sharks and global trends in shark fin trade, while the second workshop will explore topics such as international conventions and UAE legislation protecting sharks, identification of protected shark species that are permanently banned from fishing, and safe handling and release of shark and ray bycatch.

On 28th June, the Atlantis Conference Centre will host a free-to-attend public awareness session entitled "Sharks of the Arabian Gulf".

From 23rd July throughout the week, the shark theme will dominate at the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm, offering a wide range of edutainment activities for all ages, including informative talks and the Shark Quest trivia quiz, and distribute fun giveaways to raise awareness about the importance of shark conservation and address common misconceptions about sharks. To mark the occasion, the aquarium will also launch two new shark-focused offerings – the Shark Specialist educational programme for ages 8-14 and the Shark Snorkel experience for ages over six.

WAM/Khoder Nashar/MOHD AAMIR