Illegal fishing seen as a major threat to the Gulf's sharks
Time Out Dubai staff
The UAE’s shark population is under threat from illegal fishing in the seas off the coast and local marine enthusiasts have warned ‘the consequences would be disastrous’ if something is not done to improve the situation.
‘Sharks play a critical role [in the UAE and Oman’s marine ecosystem] as they are top of the ocean’s food chain,’ explained Christophe Chellapermal, owner of diving company Nomad Ocean Adventures.
‘If sharks were to disappear, the ecosystem would collapse and the sea would die. The fish on which sharks prey feed on algae – if they were allowed to remain in the waters and breed significantly, the algae levels would drop considerably, opening up the sea to be ravaged by disease,’ he warned.
More than 73 million sharks are killed by humans every year – that’s three every second. So it’s little wonder that between 90 and 99 percent of some local shark populations have already been wiped out.
In March, marine environment campaigners and divers around the world let out a collective cheer as five new species of sharks and rays were added to a list of protected species.