Guidelines for trawling in Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman prepared

September 13, 2020 - 17:57

TEHRAN – The Department of Environment (DOE) in cooperation with the Fisheries Organization has developed the guidelines for trawling in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, the DOE deputy chief for marine ecosystems, has stated.

The International Maritime Organization has declared the Persian Gulf a special environmental zone, which is a semi-closed sea and is exploited by many countries, Davood Mirshekar said.

These exploitations, including the construction of desalination plants, aquaculture, transportation of petroleum products, etc., have put pressure on the habitat of the Persian Gulf, he lamented.

He went on to say that with this in mind, if the aquatic resources of the sea are not exploited in principle, such as trawling in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, habitats and important species on which the ecological health of the Persian Gulf depends, will be destroyed and the fishing community will suffer the first loss.

Stating that the lack of constant supervision by the responsible bodies, including the Fisheries Organization, the police, and the DOE, has caused some people to commit violations, he highlighted that each of these bodies cannot properly perform monitoring operations due to lack of manpower, equipment, and credit.

Hence, profiteers who do not care about national interests commit violations like trawling in order to benefit more from economic activity, he noted.

This fishing method imposes a serious threat to the environment, if not done properly, he emphasized.

In trawling, the fishing nets have very small holes, which does not allow the small fish to escape, and therefore catches any living creatures in the sea, he lamented.

Referring to the serious threat to marine biodiversity, he said that trawling may generate high income in the short term, but in the long term it will cause irreparable damage to the sea and many fishermen will lose their source of income or face job loss.

He stated that in some cases trawling is inevitable, like shrimp fishing which cannot be done in other ways, so we have to carry out trawling in certain ways trying to cause the least damage to the marine ecosystem.

The instructions for trawling in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman specify which vessels can trawl in what area and at what time, he explained.

If a vessel trawls outside the specified time and place, it will be stopped by the order of the judicial authority, he said, noting that several online monitoring systems will be installed on the trawling vessels to be monitored continuously.

If these systems are turned off, heavy penalties for the vessel will be considered, such as revocation of the license, but in addition to this, fishermen training is very important which is on the agenda, he stated.

Trawling, which has been widely criticized for its use, causes damage to the seabed and coral reefs. It is estimated that each time the trawl net is pulled, about 5 to 25 percent of the seabed living environment is lost. Recently, the Fisheries Organization announced that about 134 trawlers are active in the country.

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