Al-Ain: As part of its relentless commitment to supporting the government’s efforts towards protecting the environment, The United Arab Emirates University launched a campaign aiming at raising the community’s awareness regarding the pressing need to protect sharks, as they play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem.
Dr. Mohammad Abdul Mohsen Alyafei, Associate Professor, Vice Dean, College of food and Agriculture, Chair of Integrative Agriculture Department, UAEU, stated that sharks are considered one of the most important species in seas and oceans. They have been contributing to maintaining the marine ecosystem’s balance for more than 400 million years. Recently, Shark populations have witnessed a decline as a result of over-fishing, mainly due to the high value of their fins and meat. In light of the marine food chain, sharks play an essential role in maintaining the marine ecosystem’s balance and increase its productivity.
“The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in the UAE has earlier announced a new plan to protect sharks. It has launched the “National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2018-2021” presenting concrete steps towards promoting shark conservation and sustainability in the UAE and enhancing food biodiversity”, he added.
“ A study co-conducted by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature along with its governmental and non-governmental partners, revealed that the UAE is home to more than 80 different species of sharks and rays, most of which are endangered at three different levels: Critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable”, he elaborated.
In conclusion, Dr. Alyafei stated,” Within the UAEU, we hope to start the marine research program in order to maintain our natural resources as a sustainable source for the future generation. It is our responsibility to protect these species from getting extinct due to overexploitation”.