New Bahrain airport plan faces opposition
Manama, March 31, 2014
Opponents of a proposed new airport in Bahrain want the project to be scrapped or relocated.
They say if it goes ahead at the proposed location off the northern coast of Bahrain, it could destroy more than half of the country's fisheries, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
MPs plan to highlight the issue tomorrow during their weekly session, while fishermen will hold an urgent meeting to discuss potential action against the government plans.
"This means the number one fishing area in Bahrain near Fasht Al Jarim will get destroyed by at least 50 per cent depending on the area selected for reclamation," said MP Hassan Al Dossary, who is parliament's public utilities and environment affairs committee chairman.
"That area has already been affected by reclamation work for the Northern Town and I can't believe that there is any study in the world that says reclamation is damage free.
"The government has to re-evaluate its plans.
"We will take a stand during our next session and it is ridiculous that Bahrain wants to destroy its own fishing resources with its own hands."
Earlier this month, parliament rejected plans for the second airport near Fasht Al Jarim, which is off the coast of Duraz, and instead demanded the government spend money on developing Bahrain International Airport.
Al Dossary, whose constituency covers the fasht, said the government should stop spending money on unnecessary projects.
"The existing airport is fine and just needs developing, and spending money for show on the expense of fishing resources is something we don't accept," he added.
"Fasht Al Jarim has been selected because it has shallow waters and would cost less to reclaim, but in reality the costs are higher since fish supplies will drop significantly."
Bahrain Fishermen Society president Jassim Al Jeran said urbanisation was necessary, but not at the expense of marine resources.
"Fasht Al Jarim is the biggest shrimping and small fish reproduction place and is rich with coral reefs," he said.
"Reclamation in that area would change the entire marine system which will have huge consequences.
"The current water flow will be altered and that's dangerous.
"We will also be cut off from the Arabian Gulf's fishing resources that move to this area.
"It is a shame we are going to lose it, but that's the government's call. But, it doesn't mean we can't contest it because we will fight for the plans to be scrapped or the site changed."
The project was recommended to the Cabinet for approval by the ministerial committee for services and infrastructure last Wednesday.
The next phase will focus on preparing detailed studies including links with roads, water networks, electricity grids and the GCC railway network.
The GDN earlier reported that a $900 million expansion to Bahrain International Airport will be carried out at the end of the year.
The project, which will be financed from the $10 billion GCC aid, will help meet the requirements until work on the new airport project is completed. - TradeArabia News Service