Abu Dhabi, 29 April 2021: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has unveiled its new documentary: 'Our Sea … Our Future,' as a part of its ongoing cooperation with Abu Dhabi Media, the UAE's leading public service broadcaster and media company. The documentary highlights the fisheries sector, which is an integral part of Abu Dhabi's heritage. The film illuminates the pressure that Abu Dhabi's fisheries face, and the actions taken by EAD to contain the impacts of overfishing on the marine environment, with the aim of ensuring the recovery and renewal of the Emirate's fish stocks.
The documentary will premiere in Ramadan on Emarat Channel on Saturday May 1st, 2021 at 09:30 p.m., and will be repeated again at 3:30 a.m. It will also be shown again on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021, at 02:30 p.m, and again at 3:30 a.m. The documentary will be broadcast at the same time as the premiere on all accounts of the Abu Dhabi and Emarat Channels social media platforms.
The documentary will be also shown on Abu Dhabi Channel on the first day of Eid Al Fitr at 08:30 p.m. after the Oloom Al Dar news bulletin, and it will be repeated at 05:30 p.m. the next day.
The documentary, which runs for 35 minutes, was produced by EAD to highlight the roles of some of its employees as they undertake their daily work on shorelines, marine areas, ports, labs and landing sites. It showcases the challenges that employees face while conducting their various tasks and responsibilities. In addition, the documentary features interviews with EAD experts and specialists who emphasize the importance of fishing, the work undertaken by many Emiratis as a main source of income in the pre-oil era. Despite the ubiquitous development in all aspects of life in the UAE, and the wide diversity of income sources, fishing remains one of the main sources of income and a valued traditional craft.
The documentary also showcases the perspectives of various fishermen, who are key partners of the agency. Fishermen play a major role in protecting marine life through their ongoing co-operation with EAD's staff both in the field and at landing sites. Additionally, fisherman contribute to scientific research and traditional knowledge by providing information about the types of fish and endangered species, as well as landing catch data, to name a few. Moreover, fishermen play a vital role in compliance with resolutions and procedures, which have a significant impact in curbing the impacts of overfishing in the marine environment.
His Excellency Mohamed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Vice Chairman of EAD, said: 'Abu Dhabi is one of the key stakeholders in fisheries in the UAE, and the improvement of the fish stock and the abundance of demersal species represent very good indicators of the general condition of the country's territorial waters in the Arabian Gulf.'
His Excellency pointed out that natural fisheries in the UAE, like others around the world, are subject to depletion due to several natural and human factors. Studies conducted by the agency show that the fishing sector in Abu Dhabi faced significant pressures, as the overutilization of fisheries and the sharp depletion of the fish stock led to more than 80% decline in the fish stock levels in the country. Moreover, several key commercial species declined to unsustainable levels.
He added: 'As part of our efforts to protect the fish stocks and encourage sustainable use of fisheries and marine resources, the agency set several controls to manage fisheries in the emirate in a manner that would increase feasibility to utilize and preserve natural resources.'
His Excellency asserted. 'In this regard, several standards have been implemented to manage fisheries in Abu Dhabi by banning unsustainable fishing methods to protect marine species. It is also to ensure the sustainability of fisheries as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure recovery and sustainability for the next generations and to remain a key pillar of the country's food security ecosystem. This would also help enhance sustainable development of marine resources and increase fish stocks while improving revenues for fishermen at the same time.'
Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of EAD, said: 'Fisheries are not only a source of revenues or income, as they also have a significant cultural and historical importance. Therefore, Abu Dhabi's government considers their protection a key priority.'
She added: 'We cannot underestimate the importance of early response to protect the marine resources for the current and next generations. After fish catch in the UAE were sufficient to meet the population's needs, we are now depending heavily on importing to bridge the widening gap between supply and demand. Therefore, we took strict actions and controls that would ease the pressure off fisheries in the commercial and recreational sectors.'
She stressed: 'Implementing the controls set by Abu Dhabi government to manage fisheries in the emirate requires cooperation by all stakeholders. Efforts to protect and preserve the environment are not only the work of government agencies but the duty of everyone in the country.'
Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: 'This documentary enabled us to highlight some of the main threats facing fisheries in Abu Dhabi, and the internationally-recognized efforts taken by the agency, in cooperation with its partners to manage the fish stocks. Those efforts resulted in creating multiple marine reserves, in addition to deploying a system for licensing commercial and recreational fisheries, and regulating the use of fishing equipment, in addition to imposing a seasonal ban to protect fish during the breeding season. The agency also set a minimum size for fish to be caught for some of the key types and prohibited unsustainable fishing methods.'
According to her Excellency, policies, procedures, and administrative controls taken by the agency led to significant improvement in the fish stocks of some of the main commercial species that were depleted. EAD hopes for further improvement as the compliance with current policies and measures continues in a manner that helps achieve the desired outcomes of an environmentally sustained fisheries.
She concluded that the agency will continue its efforts in cooperation with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and other strategic partners to fulfil the set objectives and aid in the long-term recovery of the fish stocks, as part of the comprehensive efforts to protect the marine resources in the UAE within the National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries until 2030.
Acting General Manager of Abu Dhabi Media Abdul Raheem Al Bateeh Alnuaimi, said: “With its contribution to the community, Abu Dhabi Media is keen to consolidate its leading position through raising the community's awareness of various topics and initiatives, as well as reaching its target audience through its various media channels.
Through airing this documentary, we aim to support environmental and cultural initiatives, highlighting the efforts made by the government to preserve the Abu Dhabi's environment and biodiversity. 'Our Sea....Our Future' documentary highlights the efforts of the Environment Agency and the concerned authorities in addressing the environmental challenges resulting from overfishing.”
The feature is the second documentary produced by EAD about marine resources in the UAE. EAD produced 'Our Sea .. Our Heritage' in 2019 which highlighted the condition of fisheries in the UAE and the long-term protection and recovery plan for fisheries, which was developed by the agency in cooperation with its strategic partners to replenish the country's fish stocks.