Minister Commends Biodiversity In Qatari Territorial Waters

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie stated that his ministry's great efforts during the past years have contributed to the richness of biodiversity in the Qatari territorial waters, making them a destination for the rarest marine animals in the world, such as dugongs and whale sharks, largely concentrated in the Al Shaheen Field area.
In a speech on Sunday at the Marine Wildlife Forum, HE Dr al-Subaie indicated that the Ministry is operating according to a vision and strategy with several axes to ensure the preservation and protection of the marine environment and is working towards its sustainability, reviewing the measures and efforts taken by the ministry to protect the marine environment during the past period.
He added that the ministry's measures included issuing legislation and laws that set strict controls for overfishing operations as well as campaigns carried out by the ministry to monitor the country's territorial waters to prevent overfishing during fish breeding seasons, in addition to inspecting equipment and tools of seafarers and fishermen that do not conform to specifications. This is done in co-operation with the relevant state agencies.
He explained that the marine environment is considered an integral part of the conscience of the Qatari people, which made Qatar among the first countries to issue regulations and laws that protect its marine environment through the establishment of the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves in the mid-seventies of the last century.
He pointed to the ministry's efforts to enrich and develop the marine environment, noting that Qatar has allocated 2.5% of its total area to be marine reserves, in addition to completing the national action plan to preserve marine resources and preparing maps of coastal areas and benthic habitats. These efforts come as a practical application of Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030, he added.
The Marine Wildlife Forum discussed the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in preserving and protecting the marine environment and preventing overfishing operations in Qatari territorial waters through conducting patrols and monitoring operations, in addition to reviewing national decisions and legislation to protect fish wealth in Qatari waters.
The forum's participants also reviewed the negative effects of overfishing operations, including the depletion of fish wealth, the loss of biodiversity, and the damage to marine habitats and coral reefs, resulting from the use of environmentally unfriendly fishing tools.
Chairman of the forum Dr Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari stressed the importance of continuing to protect the marine environment in Qatar, which is witnessing distinct richness as a result of the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in implementing many programmes and initiatives that contributed to the sustainability of the marine environment and increased its biodiversity.
He pointed out that the seas and oceans are exposed to the danger of overfishing, about which the UN and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned, and explained that these activities are responsible for the loss of 11-26mn tonnes of fish each year.
Dr al-Kuwari stressed the importance of increasing awareness and education within the local community to highlight the negative effects of overfishing activities on marine wildlife, with the aim of preserving and sustaining fish resources.
He noted the danger of using traditional fishing tools, which cause negative effects on marine wildlife, such as destroying the seabed, depleting fish stocks, and causing long-term damage to marine habitats.
Dr al-Kuwari said the forum aims to enhance marine life in Qatar and provides sustainable solutions and practical recommendations to contribute to protecting wildlife in Qatar.
The forum held a panel discussion, moderated by Dr al-Kuwari, an environmental expert and engineering consultant in the office of HE the minister. The panellists were Mohamed Mahmoud al-Abdullah, head of the fish farming section at the Ministry of Municipality; Yousef al-Hamar, an environmental consultant; Mohamed Yousef al-Jaidah, an environmental activist; Mohamed Saeed al-Mohannadi, an environmental activist; and Jassim Ahmed al-Lingawi, the representative of fishermen.


Gulf Times

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