Sharjah EPAA arrests, fines Kalba poachers

Photo: WAM

Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Authority, EPAA, recently arrested four people accused of taking protected wildlife from the Alqurm Protected Area at Khor Kalba, on the UAE’s East Coast, it has been announced. They were accused of violating several protocols and regulations.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, the EPAA Chairwoman, said that despite the instructions on signs distributed throughout the reserve, which stipulate that entry to the sanctuary is forbidden without prior official permission, and laws and instructions not to harm wildlife directly and indirectly within the reserve, the people were found to have entered the reserve, ignoring the guidelines and putting the wildlife in the reserve at risk.

She said that when they were apprehended they were carrying large quantities of fish and crabs. Following legal questioning, they were each fined a total of AED10,000 for the offence.

The penalties are prescribed by the Sharjah Executive Council for individuals found to be causing harm to nature and wildlife in the Emirate. Offences include any damage to the soil and vegetation, and the cutting of perennial and annual vegetation. The Council also issues fines for the disposal of waste from construction sites into areas of reserves and for the dumping of wastewater and oil from sewage networks.

Those following unfair fishing practices, killing and harming wild creatures and destroying geological formations, in addition to polluting the environment, also face severe penalties.

The Alqurm Protected Area includes diverse ecosystems, including the only forest of mangroves on the UAE’s East Coast, swamps and salt marshes (sabkhas) and mudflats. It is also home to one of the rarest birds in the world, the local sub- species of the Collared Kingfisher, while endangered marine turtles breed on its beaches.

The Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority seeks to protect the environment, nature reserves, wildlife and their biological diversity by conducting scientific studies and research and implementing measures for pollution control. In addition, the Authority seeks to increase awareness through educational programmes on the principles of sustainable development.

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