UAE curbs shark trade to save species
International trade in three shark species will be restricted following the adoption of new global rules.
The sale of smooth, great or scalloped hammerhead sharks will require government-issued permits under restrictions by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
The UAE in March became one of 178 signatories to sign up to the rules, which also govern oceanic white-tip and porbeagle sharks, although neither of these are found in our waters.
Data from the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (Ead) shows that up to 4.3 metric tons of scalloped hammerhead and great hammerhead were landed in the emirate in 2011.
Signatories have 18 months to implement the rules.
"All countries catching sharks will need to review their legislation to comply with Cites requirements regarding sharks," said Elsayed Mohamed, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).
Arab countries, including the UAE, also need to train officials to implement the new rules, he said.
Ifaw is organizing a series of workshops in the region next year, although its priorities will be Yemen, Oman, Sudan and Egypt, where most of the region's sharks are landed.
Stanley Hartmann, of Ead's fisheries investigation and monitoring unit, said one possibility was to ban demersal longlines, popularly known as manshalla, which consist of up to 100 hooks.