Ministry of Environment ‘&’ Water Holds a Workshop on the Preservation of Sharks in Arabian Waters

Dubai: The Ministry of Environment and Water held today a workshop on the conservation of sharks in the Arabian waters in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and (Char Quest Arabia). The event will last until Thursday, October 11th, 2012, at the City Seasons Suites Hotel in Dubai.

More than sixty researchers and experts from the Gulf region, Arab region and the international community are participating in the workshop. Participants are representing different government entities that are concerned with sharks and the conservation of biodiversity such as the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries and the departments of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) authority in the region. The workshop also includes representatives of the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment, the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Convention on Migratory Species.

The workshop will be attended by a number of local authorities concerned with the preservation of sharks and the marine environment, such as the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Municipality, the Emirates Wildlife Association, the Environment and Natural Reserves Authority in Sharjah, and the Environment and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah.

Saif Mohammed Al-Shara’, the Deputy Assistant Undersecretary for Agricultural and Livestock Affairs at the Ministry of Environment and Water, said that the involvement of scientists and researchers whom specialize in sharks along with government officials, will enhance the exchange of ideas and emerging scientific information which helps to achieve the main objective of the workshop that is collecting relevant Arab states concerned with shark fisheries for the exchange of scientific information and research on sharks, to discuss ways to maintain this type of fish, and for the development of suggestions, recommendations and effective practical measures to conserve sharks in the Arabian waters.

Al-Shara’ added that the workshop will deal with the scientific side of covering research and emerging studies on the biology of sharks, their types, their role in the ecosystem, the areas of their distribution in the Arab region and around the world, and the regions and seasons of breeding and nurturing. The workshop will also cover specialized research in sharks and their different kinds such as whale sharks and other kinds, as a model of research plans to maintain these kinds of sharks.

Participants in this workshop will address several important topics in this area including a presentation of fishing operations and legislative aspects applied to preserve the number of sharks by country, a display of different topics to support discussions on conservation of sharks, including how to take advantage of local information in the preparation of plans to maintain sharks regionally, and the shark fin trade on an international, and a regional scale and its impact on sharks in natural niche. A discussion on migratory species and their role in maintaining sharks, and the role played by the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in preserving endangered species of sharks will be addressed as well.

During the workshop, the role of CITES will be discussed for the inclusion of types of sharks in CITES list, where delegates from Germany and Brazil will present a suggestion for the participating Arab countries on the proposal on the inclusion of endangered species of shark fish on the CITES list, and to gain support for the proposal when it will be introduced during the next CITES meeting in Thailand, 2013.

In addition, the role of the private sector will be presented and discussed, such as the role of the Dubai Aquarium Company, which contributes to raising global awareness about the importance of the preservation of sharks.

Participants in the workshop are from Arab countries and international stakeholders of fisheries and the CITES authority. States participating in the workshop are: the United Arab Emirates, State of Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, the Republic of Yemen, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Brazil and Germany.

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