The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) installed today (April 28) 100 artificial caves at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Dubai, in cooperation with Delma Marine Industrial Supply & Marine Services Company (Delma Marine).
The installation of the caves is part of the first phase of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between MOCCAE and Delma Marine in December of last year to build and install artificial habitats in UAE waters.
The artificial caves were named Zayed Marine Reserves to commemorate the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s commitment to the environment. The installation of these caves will help ensure the sustainability of the marine environment and step up the development of living aquatic resources in the UAE.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Major General Pilot Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, Chairman of the Marine Conservation Society, witnessed the installation of the artificial caves.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said: "Commencing the implementation of the first phase of the MoU with Delma Marine is in line with the ministry’s strategy to support the sustainability of the marine environment, promote research and studies on marine biodiversity, build incubators for young fish in the coastal marine environment and to enhance the fisheries stock. This agreement aims to strengthen the partnership between the government and private sectors and promote the value of social responsibility among private sector companies."
He noted that the first phase includes the manufacturing and installation of 100 artificial caves, and per the MoU with Delma Marine, other caves will be installed in various locations to be determined later this year.
Al Zeyoudi added that the agreement aims to support the ‘Artificial Caves Program’ launched by the ministry in 2016 as part of the ongoing efforts to promote fishing as an occupation and improve the sustainability of fish stock.
Al Zeyoudi valued the efforts exerted by Dubai Police to regulate boats movement and fishing activities and to monitor the areas of natural and artificial habitats along the emirate’s coastline.
For his part, Ayoub Al Khajah, Director General of Delma Marine, noted that the company is committed to supporting and taking part in government initiatives that target sustainable development in line with the UAE Vision 2021 as well as spreading the culture of sustainability and promoting the green economy.
He added, "At Delma Marine, we were keen to support the ministry’s Artificial Caves Program and made sure to build the caves from eco-friendly materials. We agreed to name these caves Zayed Marine Reserves in recognition of the environmental achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the Man of the Environment – in preserving fisheries and marine life."
Major General Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani said: "Sustaining the marine environment and preserving fisheries is one of the main elements of environmental sustainability targeted by the UAE Vision 2021. The installation of artificial caves serves this target well as they represent an alternative for natural habitats that incubate marine life, particularly small fish. Such efforts facilitate research and control activities to assess the current state of the marine environment."
He indicated that the efforts exerted by the MOCCAE, in collaboration with the public and private sectors, contribute massively to preserving fisheries and sustaining them for the future. He noted that the Marine Conservation Society is committed to play its part in these efforts.
The Artificial Caves Program, which the Ministry started to implement in 2016, included the establishment of an artificial marine reserve in Ras Dhadna with 400 cement caves, establishment of five fishing sites using artificial caves in the Bird Island of Dibba, five fishing sites using 150 artificial caves in the emirate of Umm Al Qaiwain, and installation of 150 caves in the Emirate of Ajman in a ??300 square meters location.
As part of the cooperation with the Ministry, the Ras Al Khaimah Environmental Protection and Development Authority (EPDA-RAK) has installed 600 artificial caves in a protected area in the emirate. The Environment and Nature Reserves Authority in Sharjah has completed a project of installing 72 marine shields in the eastern region of the country, 56 of them in Kalba and 16 in Dibba Al Hosn.