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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Qatar bans use of some fishing equipment to protect wildlife

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For illustrative purposes only
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s Ministry of Environment has issued a decree banning several kinds of fishing nets, including bottom trawl nets and cast nets, as part of ongoing efforts to protect and boost its dwindling fish supply.

The use of pneumatic spearguns – which utilize compressed pressure – have also been prohibited, according to the new legislation, which Doha News was given a copy of by the MOE.

Certain types of equipment, including harpoons or spears, can now only be used at specific times of the year. They are banned from December to April, to safeguard the reproduction season for many species.

The decree will take effect once it’s published in Qatar’s Official Gazette next month.

Dangers

Several of the banned pieces of equipment have been used as a means of fishing throughout the world for centuries. But many of them, while successful at catching large amounts of fish, can also unintentionally scoop up “bycatch.”

For example, bottom trawl nets operate by dragging a large, heavy net across the seafloor to catch shrimp, cod and flounder.

But they also end up gathering deep sea coral, plants, endangered fish and other creatures that are later discarded.

According to the Marine Conservation Institute:

“This collateral damage, called bycatch, can amount to 90 percent of a trawl’s total catch. In addition, the weight and width of a bottom trawl can destroy large areas of seafloor habitats that give marine species food and shelter. Such habitat destructions can leave the marine ecosystem permanently damaged.”

Other fishing nets, like the three-layer trammel and the nylon monofilament, which is almost invisible underwater, have also been listed as part under the banned equipment.

Cormorants rescue
Cormorants rescue

But an official at the Ministry of Environment told Doha News earlier this year that they are already illegal in Qatar.

The MOE official was commenting on an incident in January in which around 100 birds died as they flew inadvertently into 150m of vertical gill nets, in waters off of the Pearl-Qatar.

According to the WWF, gill nets can also inadvertently capture larger species.

“Gillnets are responsible for the by-catch related deaths of most threatened dolphin and porpoise species,” the group has said.

As a result, the United Nations has banned the use of large-scale (defined as greater than 2.5km) drift nets in international waters, and the EU has placed a ban on drift nets of any length.

Spearguns

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In terms of speargun usage, the MOE has said that the use of non-pneumatic powered tools such as banded spearguns is only prohibited to catch hamour during the reproduction season of April and May each year.

According to Brig. Ali Ahmed Al Bedeed, director of Qatar’s Coasts and Borders Security Department, foreign anglers who fish in Qatar have been putting hamour and other domestic fish stocks at risk.

He added:

“If we don’t protect our fish, in one year’s time there won’t be any fish left in the Qatari waters.”

The new legislation also sets criteria for legal fishing nets, stating that the height of a net should be between 8-100m, depending on its type.

Other efforts

Mindful of its dwindling supply, Qatar officials announced last year plans to establish a QR230million ($63.16m) aquatic research center.

The center, which will comprise of massive fish and prawn hatcheries, is expected to be ready by the end of this year.

In recent years, authorities have also required Qatari owners of fishing boats to accompany their employees on expeditions – vastly decreasing the number of fishing trips taken by these boats.

A couple of years ago, officials also announced that the government had stoped issuing new fishing licenses for the next decade.

Thoughts?

13 COMMENTS

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Coco
Coco
6 years ago

Throw a beer in the title…no one cares about wildlife here 😛

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

bravo !

Yummykarak
Yummykarak
6 years ago

That’s good ^_^

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

It’s a good move, I think we can all agree on this one.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Qatar you have just gone up 1000 points in my estimation. Well done.

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

SMART! Now I hope this is not another law with no teeth.

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

law for NO ONE to follow
law for NO ONE to enforce.

till they learn to eat sand the locals will wander the desert of illiteracy.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Deleting for racism.

Gracie
Gracie
6 years ago

Wildlife? like the animals in the forest? 🙂 I think they should also consider cleaning the filth out of the water and banning Jet ski races. Perhaps I am wrong but I guess if the fish decides to swim to the surface, to enjoy some sunshine, it may risk ending up as ‘road’ kill because of a Jet ski.

Jacques Bezuidenhout
Jacques Bezuidenhout
6 years ago
Reply to  Gracie

Gracie. A lot of people don’t like jet skis but jet skis are very unlikely to kill any fish because it is jet propelled and actually more water friendly than the normal outboard engines. Outboard engines struck all kinds of species including Dugongs and turtles. As far as I’m concerned they should ban all forms of nets including the round steel chicken mesh cages. These steel cages catches all the fish species within that area where the cage is placed and half the fish species in these cages are being discarded leaving the hole system imbalanced. The best way is to also put a restriction on fish species and sizes during specific seasons and let fishing boats or fishing jet skis report back to a division showing their catch making sure all is legal sizes and in quantities. This will enforce catch and release to the sport fisherman who does this as a hobby and less fish waist coming from the commercial boats. I do salt water fly fishing from my jet ski and a massive difference can be seen from what we used to catch 5 years ago to what comes out today. Lets hope more restrictions come into play to try and fix the problem.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

It’s only a “decree”. And, as usual, it has to be seen how they are going to implement it. They will need 5,000 more coast guards.

Omar Ahmed
Omar Ahmed
6 years ago

I am a regular boat user but stopped to go boating during Fridays and holidays because of jet skies, there are horrible to sea goers they do not respect anyone and causes a lot of noise and a lot of wakes which uncomfortable to everyone and every boat owner I spoke to he has agreed and expressed the same feelings about jet skies, I know they deserve to have fun with them but we hope to see designated areas for them, I hope someone do something about it.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Fantastic idea. I hope it is strongly enforced.

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