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Minister praises biodiversity in Qatar’s territorial waters

SHE, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, stated that his ministry’s great efforts over the past years have contributed to the richness of biodiversity in Qatar’s territorial waters, making them a destination for the rarest marine animals in the country. the world, such as dugongs and whale sharks, are largely concentrated in the Al Shaheen Field area. In a speech on Sunday at the Marine Wildlife Forum, HE Dr. al-Subaie indicated that the Ministry operates according to a multi-axis vision and strategy to ensure the conservation and protection of the marine environment and works towards its sustainability, by reviewing the measures and efforts taken by the Ministry in the recent period to protect the marine environment. He added that the ministry’s measures include issuing legislation and laws that impose strict controls on overfishing operations and campaigns carried out by the ministry to monitor the country’s territorial waters to prevent overfishing during fish farming seasons, in addition to inspecting seafarers’ and fishermen’s equipment and tools that do not meet specifications. This is done in collaboration with the relevant government agencies. He explained that the marine environment is considered an integral part of the conscience of the Qatari people, making Qatar one of the first countries to enact rules and laws that protect the marine environment through the establishment of the Supreme Council for the Environment and Nature Reserves in the mid-1970s. He highlighted the ministry’s efforts to enrich and develop the marine environment, noting that Qatar has earmarked 2.5% of its total area for marine areas. reserves, in addition to the completion of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Marine Resources and the preparation of maps of coastal areas and benthic habitats. These efforts come as a practical application of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and the Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030, he added. The Marine Wildlife Forum discussed the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in conserving and protecting the marine environment and preventing overfishing. operations in Qatar’s territorial waters by conducting patrols and monitoring operations, in addition to reviewing national decisions and legislation to protect fish resources in Qatari waters. Forum participants also assessed the negative impacts of overfishing operations, including the depletion of fish resources, loss of biodiversity, and damage to marine habitats and coral reefs, resulting from the use of environmentally unfriendly fishing tools. Chairman of the forum Dr. Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari stressed the importance of continuing to protect the marine environment in Qatar, which is witnessing a clear wealth as a result of the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in implementing many programs and initiatives that have contributed to the sustainability of the marine environment and increased its biodiversity. He pointed out that the seas and oceans are exposed to the danger of overfishing, which the UN and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have warned, explaining that these activities are responsible for the loss of 11-26 million tons of fish per year . Dr. al-Kuwari stressed the importance of raising awareness and education within the local community to highlight the negative effects of overfishing on marine life, with the aim of conserving and sustaining fish stocks. He pointed out the danger of using traditional fishing tools, which have negative effects on marine life, such as destroying the seabed and depleting fish, and causing long-term damage to marine habitats. Dr. al-Kuwari said the forum aims to improve marine life in Qatar and provide sustainable solutions and practical recommendations to contribute to the protection of Qatar’s wildlife. The forum held a panel discussion moderated by Dr. al-Kuwari, an environmental expert and technical advisor in the minister’s office. The panelists were Mohamed Mahmoud al-Abdullah, head of the fish farms department at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs; Yousef al-Hamar, an environmental consultant; Mohamed Yousef al-Jaidah, an environmentalist; Mohamed Saeed al-Mohannadi, an environmentalist; and Jassim Ahmed al-Lingawi, the fishermen’s representative.