The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has signed an agreement with Fish Farm authorising the latter to operate a fish hatchery in Umm Al Quwain.
Sultan Alwan, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Regions Sector at MOCCAE, and Bader bin Mubarak, CEO of Fish Farm, signed the agreement for the hatchery at the ministry’s Marine Environment Research Centre.
Under the agreement, the ministry authorises Fish Farm to operate and manage the fish hatchery that comprises 24 tanks, with a capacity of 10 cubic metres each.
In addition to managing and operating the hatchery, Fish Farm is mandated to install 300 artificial caves every year for the three-year agreement, state news agency WAM reported.
Alwan said the agreement is aimed at improving the long-term sustainability of fisheries as a primary pillar of food diversity in the country.
"To meet this priority, we are keen to encourage the private sector to invest in marine aquaculture through supporting and facilitating such investments. The new initiative is an extension of our artificial caves programme launched in 2016 to build artificial habitats that provide a safe environment for the breeding of fish and other marine species.
"Combined with the fishing regulations introduced by the ministry, the programme has led to a remarkable improvement in fish populations in these waters, as evidenced in a 2017 survey to study its impact."
MOCCAE, in collaboration with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, conducted a survey on fish populations in the UAE’s waters along the Arabian Gulf and the Sea of Oman at the end of 2017.
While previous surveys in 2001 and 2011 showed a decline in fish populations over 1980 numbers, the 2017 survey indicates that this decline has been curbed.
Furthermore, in some areas along the Sea of Oman, fish populations are once again thriving and several economically important species have been spotted for the first time.
Mubarak said: "The agreement leverages Fish Farm’s long-standing experience in marine aquaculture and managing fish hatcheries. We aim to help in finding modern solutions to the future challenges of sustaining fish populations locally and protecting all species against extinction and depletion."
He added that the company produces 2,500 tonnes of fish per annum and is a key contributor to enhancing food diversity in the UAE.
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