UAE restricts hunting, fishing of sharks

The hunting and trading of sharks has been regulated effective September 1 through a Ministerial Resolution (500) for the year 2014 issued by Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water.

The resolution limits the hunting of sharks in fishing waters not less than five nautical miles from the shores of the UAE and not less than three nautical miles from the islands of the UAE. This will prevent fishing of sharks for their fins and thwart the practice of throwing their bodies back into the sea. The regulation states that sharks must be brought fully into the port. It also aims to prevent the trading of live sharks caught in fishing waters of the UAE unless a special permit has been issued by the ministry.

It prevents hunting species stated in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which also states that these species must be released back into the sea when they are caught in the fishing equipment.

The resolution allows fishermen who are running boats with lynch, a tool with several hooks at the end of its edges, to catch sharks every first of July of each year until the end of January of the following year using hooks as long as they do not exceed 100 hooks per lynch. The hooks should be curved, should not be larger than 0/14, and should be biodegradable. The boat should also carry the kit and include the fishing boat number and the logo symbol of the emirate.

In cases of importation of shark species enumerated in CITES, such as the great hammerhead, scalloped bonnet head, swordfish, carcharinus longimanus, manta rays, great white shark, basking shark, sphyrna as what is also mention that an export or re-export certificate from the administrative authority in the exporting country and an import valid certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water must be secured. Companies are not permitted to export sharks caught in the fishing waters of the UAE - whether fresh, frozen, dried or salted, smoked or canned, or any other form, - throughout the year.

The import of sharks - fresh, frozen, dried, salted, smoked or canned, or in any other form – is also allowed by the issued resolution. The shipments must be accompanied with the original certificate of source of origin related for each shipment, stating the scientific name and quantity of each type. It should also have the original health certificate, commercial invoice, and the packing list for each shipment.

The decision also allows the re-export of all imported sharks - fresh, frozen, dried or salted, smoked or canned, or in any other form, provided the permission is granted by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water. The Ministry will grant permission only after receiving the certificate of origin of the shipment issued by a competent authority in the exporting country; customs declaration for the shipment issued in the port of entry; a certificate of authority to export food items issued by the competent local authority mentioning the scientific name and quantity of each type and a packing certificate issued by the manufacturer, licensed by the Ministry for processing of fish products detailing the quantity and quality of fish exported. In case of imported variations, the re-export facility is required to provide the purchase invoice documents in addition to all the documents related to the shipment.

In case of re-export of shark species in the annexes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), additional documents such as the re-export certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water for these shark species need to be submitted, in addition to prior authorization of the importing country for re-export of same shark species in order to prevent the re-export of shark fins from the state.

As stated in the resolution, the health certificates for shipments of re-exported sharks in export outlet will be issued only after the Quarantine Inspector inspects the shipment and confirms the attached re-export permit of the Ministry of Environment and Water in addition to a Certificate of Origin of the shipment by the competent authorities. All the re-exported shipments undergo strict procedures of quarantine and regulation in order to control the international trade of animals and plants threatened with extinction in the State.

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