The enforcement of a new law that requires Qataris to be physically present on their fishing boats has prompted an 80 percent drop in the number of boats going out to sea to trawl, an official has said.
The law, which was greeted with extreme skepticism from fishermen and owners alike when it was issued last year, is part of an effort to protect the environment, Brigadier Ali Ahmed Al Mannai, director of Coasts and Border Security Department (CBSD), said.
The Peninsula reports:
The idea behind making sure that the Qatari owner is present during commercial fishing expedition of his boat or trawler was that being citizen he would behave responsibly and not let marine environment of his country be put under threat.
“It is true that citizens behave more responsibly with regard to protecting the environment. They are careful about protecting the environment and our natural resources,” said Al Mannai.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Environment said it would not issue any new fishing licenses for the next decade to protect depleting fish reserves in Qatar’s waters.
In a huge economic blow to fishermen, the ministry has also said that licensed boats will be allowed to take only three fishing trips a month.
Meanwhile, despite officials’ claims to the contrary, several reports state that prices of fish have been rising for months as demand far outpaces supply.
Credit: Photo by Erick Espinosa