Ras Al Khaimah, UAE – Today, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, led the second meeting of 2023 with the UAE Fishermen’s Cooperative Union and heads of fishermen’s associations from across the country.
The primary objective of the meeting was to address crucial matters related to the sustainable development of fisheries resources in the UAE and explore ways to support fishermen in their vital role of strengthening national food security.
The gathering took place at the Environmental Protection and Development Authority premises in Ras Al Khaimah and was attended by Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at the Ministry, Sulaiman Al Khadem, President of the UAE Fishermen’s Cooperative Union and President of the Dibba Al Fujairah Fishermen’s Association, along with the Presidents of the Fishermen’s Cooperative Associations nationwide, as well as various officials and fishermen.
In her address, Minister Almheiri emphasized the UAE’s unwavering commitment to caring for fishermen and providing them with comprehensive support to ensure the prosperity of their profession. She highlighted that fishing is not only an economic endeavor but also a cultural and social cornerstone of the nation.
Acknowledging that fisheries resources are essential for national food security, Almheiri emphasized the need to focus on their development, preservation, and sustainable management for the benefit of present and future generations. She commended the Union and Fishermen’s Associations for their diligent implementation of regulations aimed at enhancing the UAE’s fish wealth.
Almheiri stated, “As we celebrate the Year of Sustainability and approach hosting COP28 this year, we aspire to establish a sustainable model for developing fish resources and marine life in our country, while minimizing environmental and climate impacts. We aim to promote fishing activities in accordance with the laws and guidelines in force in the UAE, which can only be achieved through full cooperation and working as a unified team.”
Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi reaffirmed the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment’s dedication to supporting fishermen as a top priority to strengthen the fish wealth sector, preserve the historical fishing profession, and overcome any obstacles they encounter.
He emphasized the Ministry’s intensified collaboration with relevant entities, notably the Union and Fishermen’s Associations in the UAE, to resolve fishermen’s issues and facilitate their activities along the country’s diverse coasts in compliance with applicable regulations and laws.
Al Hammadi added, “Through continuous dialogue and direct communication channels with fishermen in all emirates, we aim to enhance the sector. In this meeting, we listened to fishermen’s opinions on various decisions and solutions to develop fish resources, maximize their benefits, ensure their sustainability, and contribute to national food security.”
The meeting focused on evaluating the current needs of the fishing community, addressing challenges faced during fishing activities, and identifying effective solutions. It also emphasized the comprehensive development of the marine fishing sector to ensure the long-term health of the marine environment and bolster national food security.
Additionally, updates were provided on the Fish Stock Survey Program, fishing decisions (Daghwa), and the “Haddaq” application project. The proposals put forward by the fishermen’s associations were reviewed, including a suggestion to ban the use of plastic bags and replace them with boxes or baskets to reduce marine pollution, preserve the environment, and minimize plastic waste.
Furthermore, the meeting discussed the findings from the Ministry’s survey of fishermen, with 722 respondents, as well as the conditions outlined for the Deputy Captain profession. The regulation of pleasure boat fishing and the enhancement of communication channels with fishermen through regular awareness workshops and forums were also addressed.
The first meeting of the UAE Fishermen’s Cooperative Union and fishermen’s associations for this year was held at the Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry last March, and the third meeting is scheduled to take place in November.