1.7 tons of illegally caught juvenile sharks and fish were seized during a recent surprise inspection at a market in Dubai.
The inspection, carried out by the Environmental Compliance Department at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), seized the nearly 2 tons from local vendors whom were attempting to sell the illegal products
Inspectors issued fines to shop owners after finding traders breaking laws concerning the prevention of fishing, selling and marketing of undersized fish. The UAE has banned the fishing and sale of sharks during five months of the year, February through June, to allow sharks the opportunity to grow, breed and ensure they are able to sustain stocks.
Just last year, UAE’s ministry launched a four-year plant to protect sharks from overfishing as stock levels were rapidly declining and some species had not been seen in decades.
The importance of sharks cannot be overstated as we will never be able to have healthy oceans without the apex predator that sharks are. Sharks are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean. In that role, they keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their ecosystem. Researchers estimate than more than 100 million sharks are being killed every year with a majority of deaths coming from the shark finning industry and bycatch.
Ministry officials advised UAE residents to report violators of the UAE’s fishing laws by calling the toll free number 800-3050 or via its social media channels.